Planning and executing a wedding can be truly joyous, and at the same time, raise your stress levels. Making your way through the process can call on reserves you may not have known you had, and can encourage you to start a healthy practice that can become an integral part of your life.
Creating healthy habits and sticking to them can seem a bit overwhelming when you’ve got a lot on your plate – but what if you could make habits that are good for you – like meditation – just as appealing as a cupcake?
Cupcakes are popping up all over – from children’s parties and corporate banquets to newlyweds who serve them to their wedding guests. Some couple have even exchanged a traditional tiered cake for tiers of cupcakes for easy serving and smaller portion sizes – after all, who isn’t trying to be (and eat) healthier these days?
If you want to lower your stress levels, beginning a meditation practice (or becoming more consistent with your existing practice) is a great idea. You can also take a cue from cupcakes – here are some ideas that will make mindfulness almost as simple as eating dessert:
Meditations Inspired by the Smallness of Cupcakes
You probably have days when it’s difficult to carve out five minutes for meditation, let alone a half hour or more. You skip a session, and before you know it that lapse builds up into a month. Try scheduling bite-size meditations instead.
1. Pause for silence. A single moment of silence can calm you if you’ve been rushing around. You’ll remember your priorities and manage your time more effectively.
2. Select a word. Pick a word for the day that is meaningful for you. When you feel irritated or sad, repeat it to yourself.
3. Read a passage. Assemble a library of books that give you food for thought. Read a few lines from a spiritual teacher, philosopher, or poet.
4. Breathe deeply. A red traffic light is an ideal opportunity to monitor your breath. Try inhaling and exhaling in 3 parts focusing on your abdomen, rib cage, and upper chest.
Meditations Inspired by the Sweetness of Cupcakes
Many people love cupcakes, even if they’re dry, because they’re covered with almost twice as much frosting as a plain old slice of cake. When you’re going through a challenging time, search for the upside of hanging in there.
1. Learn and grow. Overcoming obstacles hones our skills and makes us more resilient. You figure out how to leverage your strengths. You identify areas where you need more practice and training.
2. Develop compassion. Disappointments can soften your heart. You’ll want to treat yourself and others more gently when you empathize with their experiences.
3. Deepen your relationships. Friends become closer when they support and encourage each other. By collaborating with a partner, you come up with solutions that may have eluded you if you were working on your own.
4. Appreciate simple comforts. It’s easy to take our blessings for granted. When your dishwasher breaks down, think about how much convenience and free time modern appliances have added to your life.
Meditations Inspired by the Wide Variety of Cupcakes
Would bakery lines be so long if cupcakes came in vanilla only? It’s those flavors from peanut butter and jelly to red velvet that draw a crowd. If you’re tired of the same old routine, new meditation techniques may restore your enthusiasm.
1. Take a walk. If you need a break from the cushion, you can meditate without sitting down. Walk around your living room or follow a path in a quiet public garden.
2. Chant and sing. Maybe you’re having one of those days when you feel compelled to put your thoughts into words. Sing your favorite hymns or popular songs. Chant along with a CD.
3. Draw a picture. Art can be meditative. Sketch trees and flowers. Copy a drawing from a book. Assemble a collage that you can display on your meditation shrine.
4. Join a group. Alternate between meditating solo and as part of a community. Browse online for meditation centers in your neighborhood. Ask your local library about starting a lunchtime meeting.
Cupcakes can do more than satisfy your sweet tooth. Let them teach you how to develop a practice of daily meditation that will dissolve stress and bring you greater peace of mind.