January is my least favorite month. The Holiday high comes to a screeching halt and all of a sudden you are back at work, with even more on your plate than last year. New projects, new resolutions, new goals—it can all become very overwhelming, very fast.  

On top of the added stress, it’s cold and dark; two factors that make you want to do nothing all day!

 When you get to this point, it’s important to stop… (although it’s hard)…and take a minute to center yourself.

Centering refers to both your mental and physical state. It’s a learned practice that can help one calm emotions and thoughts, and slow breathing, to a point in which you can ‘feel’ a lot more going on around and inside you. One becomes more aware and alert to the present moment, while at the same time relaxed, and calm.

Centering provides a new starting point from which you can attack the day with increased clarity and strength.

Centering is most helpful when life becomes a whirlwind; when you can’t even remember your daily routine because your mind is at capacity with extraneous thoughts and to-do’s.  

So, here’s a simple way to center, to regain a sense of self and emotional stability, even on the toughest of days.

Self-Inquiry Meditation

  • Take a comfortable seated position in a place that you know well; a comfortable spot on the couch or bed

  • Let yourself settle into your body and your mind by closing your eyes, sitting still, and breathing deeply

  • Try to let go of thoughts and clear the mind of its usual considerations. Sometimes it’s helpful to focus your mind on a mental image such as: a specific color or object.

  • Focus your attention on the feeling of being you. Who are you? How does it feel to be you in this moment? What is it that makes you, you?

This exercise can be continued for as long as desired. Usually, a good 5-10 minutes is enough to calm your mind and body, and open your eyes with a fresh sense of reality. Yet, it is a difficult exercise as it requires the individual to focus on the self, which not many find enjoyable.

If you are having trouble staying in your own head, try practicing it a few times in shorter bouts. Focus on your breathing and how it feels to sit still. Once you can calm your body, it’s easier to access your thoughts.

The goal of self-inquiry centering is to be aware of yourself and to bring awareness to the source of all that you are. It can be so easy to get lost in everyday tasks and distractions, especially in the January rush.

Take care of yourself, by taking time for yourself.

Don’t let what you do get the best of who you are.