Anotheractivity that can help with creativity as well as relieve stress ismeditation. And it doesn't involvesweating; all you have to do is be able to sit still and do nothing. Meditation is a a terrific way to quiet yourmind and prepare it for writing.

The health benefits of meditation are well documented. Meditation canlower blood pressure, lower your heart rate, boost your immune system, andgenerally reduce stress. Some Tibetan yogis can influence their bodytemperatures as much as 15 degrees in their hands and feet.>>

It'salso a great way to get inspiration. Sometimes wonderful ideas will come to you while you're meditating. Often, after I finish meditation, the ideaswill pile into my conscious mind a few minutes later, as if they've been liningup waiting for me to return to the here and now.>>

I've learned that you don't have to pay azillion dollars or follow any gurus to meditate; you don't have to sit in thelotus position, either, and you don't have to do it twice a day for twentyminutes (although that is ideal, if you can swing it!) Even five minutes will have a positive impacton your creativity and your mental outlook in general.>>

Ifyou're interested, there are tons of books out there that can tell you how todo it. But really, it can be as easy assitting comfortably in a quiet place and counting your breaths, or mentallyrepeating a word or phrase such as “I breathe in … I breathe out.” (Or counting, as Tiana pointed out in another thread.) I usually do it as soon as I wake up. While my husband takes his shower, I sit upcross-legged in bed, prop myself up with pillows, and start breathing.>>

I'vealso discovered that you can program your meditation. If you are having athorny plot problem, or you're not sure which project to pursue, or you'recontemplating making an agent change, you can pose a question to yourself justas you start meditating. “What should I do about this matter?” Then put it outof your mind and do your meditation as usual. Sometimes the answer will come toyou like magic. If not during meditation, then you might get it later in theday.>>

Youcan program your dreams this way, too. Do a short meditation before you go to sleep, and ask your subconscious to give you a dream that addresses whatever plot or career issue is plaguing you. Keep a pad and pen by your bed so you can quickly record any dreams, because they'll slip away if you don't.>>

Tomorrowwe'll talk about a few more tips and tricks for taking care of your body, soit's primed to write.>>