I bug my family constantly to meditate, especially those in my family with high blood pressure. It has so many positive benefits for the mind and body. But the most common excuse I hear from friends and family is, “I don’t have time.” And I call bull. I think people often think that meditation means sitting on a cliff with their fingers in the “OK” position and saying “Ommm” for an hour. But that’s extreme. You have time to meditate, everyone does. If you have time to read this article, you have time to meditate!
Ditch the “Monk” mentality
You don’t have to quit your job and move to a monastery in Bali to experience the benefits of meditation. Even short bursts of meditation can deliver powerful benefits.
Wake up and go
The best time to meditate is as soon as you get up and after you take care of your bodily functions (drink water, pee, etc.). Don’t think about it—just wake up and sit down to meditate, even if it’s just for five minutes. If you’re a parent, I know you’re probably rolling your eyes, but it’s all about repetition. Make it part of your routine to step outside or in a different room for five minutes before launching into “mom” mode. It might take awhile for the boundaries to stick, but teamwork makes the dream work.
Go for a walk
Mindful walking is a great way to incorporate meditation into your daily routine. You can do this while walking to work, in the hallways, running errands or walking from the car to the door on the way home. Keep in mind this is a practice. Our natural tendency is to “rush, rush, rush” so we can get on to the next thing. While you’re walking, start with appreciation. Appreciation for the sights and smells around you. Appreciation for the ability to walk in general! Your senses play a huge part in mindful walking. Walk at a natural, relaxed pace and begin to open your awareness to all your senses—sight, sound, taste, feeling, smell. See what is around you, listen to the sounds, taste the air or whatever is in your mouth, feel the warmth, coolness or breeze on your cheeks, smell the air. Then stop for a moment and see if you can take in all of the senses.
Are you a creature of habit? Add a 10-minute meditation session into your daily calendar and don’t skip it. Give this time slot the same credit you would to a meeting or call you have to take. The world won’t end if you step away for 10 minutes. Your inbox will still be there. You can use your lunch break or right when you get home from work. Meditating for a few minutes right after work is a great way to transition from work mode to relaxed mode.
Micro-Dose your meditation
One minute a day, five times a day, and then increase from there. Schedule these one-minute increments over the course of your day and dive into your meditation. You don’t need to drag out a giant meditation cushion for your micro-doses. You can sit anywhere: In your office chair, on a park bench, in the waiting room. If you have your headphones, you can use an app like Headspace to guide you through it, even if it’s only for a minute. Headspace has a ton of different types of meditation in all different increments of time. Here are some times of day you can schedule your micro-doses:
- Right when you wake up
- Right when you get to work, before diving into the day
- Between meetings
- After lunch
- Right before you leave work
- Before dinner
- Before bed
If all else fails and you truly think you’re too busy to meditate, take advantage of the opportunity for mindful breathing. Next time you are alone in your car, doing dishes, cleaning your house, in the shower or in line at the store, tune into your internal space by focusing on your breath. If you can, turn down other noises (tv, music, etc.) and try to tune everything else out so you can fully listen to your breath while tackling a methodical task from your to-do list.
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