Hiking, Meditation, & the No.1 Habit to Improve Life
by Jamie Spannhake
September 08, 2020
I returned on Monday from a short weekend getaway to Tupper Lake in the Adirondack Mountains, for several days of hiking in the beautiful fresh air. My daughter and I, and another family, spent the weekend in cabins, eating flatbread pizzas and making s'mores over a campfire each night. We even had lunch at Bog River Falls, on a large flat rock a few feet from the small, but rushing falls. It was lovely.
After lunch, while my daughter and her friend were playing in the falls, I lay down on the stone, looking up at the beautiful blue sky with slowly moving white cottony clouds, feeling the breeze on my face, and listening to the deafening white noise of the falls. I took deep breaths. I relaxed. This was my meditation for the day.
See what I saw and heard in this short video.
It reminded me why I spent almost a full chapter on the importance of meditation in my book The Lawyer, the Lion, & the Laundry: Three Hours to Finding Your Calm in the Chaos. It reiterated to me why I spend time each day to meditate, knowing that it will create calm and peace in my life, especially when things are a bit crazy, like they are now in my law practice.
If you've read my book, then you know that I think of meditation as a vacation for your mind, allowing it to relax, rejuvenate, and recenter. Meditation is for your mind what my weekend in the Adirondacks was for my body and soul.
The benefits of a meditation practice are particularly helpful now, as we grasp our new normal and watch our children return to school in an environment that is far from certain. Some of the benefits of a daily meditation practice, even as little as five minutes, are:
1. Reduce stress and anxiety. Meditation calms the mind, which is the underlying premise for managing stress and anxiety. When we feel stressed and anxious, our minds are running at top speed in many different directions at the same time. Thus, the racing heart, tight muscles, and snappish reactions. Meditation and mindfulness can relax your mind and body to help you achieve a calmer state in which to face the world and all its challenges.
Related Content: Five Reasons to Meditate
2. Improve your ability to deal with difficult times and people. Meditation and mindfulness are very helpful during difficult times, and when dealing with difficult people. Sometimes our reactions to events and people are only partly related to that event or person. Often some past experience is coloring our reaction, and perhaps making it more intense or problematic than the situation or person alone warrants. Meditation and mindfulness can help by calming your mind and helping you identify and understand the deeper questions that arise during these times.
Related Content: The Benefits of Informal Meditation: Quieting the Mind
3. Increase compassion for yourself and others. Meditation can increase our capacity for compassion toward ourselves and others. Compassion is an emotional response whereby one perceives another’s problem and genuinely wants to help resolve the problem. This is part of what humans do: People come to us with their problems, or to avoid future problems, and we help resolve or avoid the problems. Compassion is the foundation for good people skills. Without compassion, you cannot understand others, anticipate what they will do, or take pre-emptive steps to avoid problems. The compassionate person focuses on how others feel and is accepting of their perspective, whether or not she ultimately agrees with it.
4. Develop perseverance. Life requires perseverance. You must keep working, keep trying, and keep going. You must be able to walk away when things are not working, take a break and come back fresh and ready. Meditation gives your brain the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate so that you can persevere.
You can learn more about the benefits of meditation and how to start or grow your meditation practice in my E-Guide The No.1 Habit to improve your life. I'd like to share it with you for FREE, because if I can turn even one person on to the magic of meditation, then I'll know I've made a difference in this world.
Get your FREE download of The No.1 Habit, which is an excerpt from my book, here.
Want to see more of our trip to Tupper Lake, where we hiked the Triad: Coney Mountain, Goodman Mountain, and Arab Mountain? Watch a short video with the highlights.