Are you tired of feeling guilty because you know you should meditate…although you just don’t have the time to do it?
There are some surprising ways to accomplish getting to a more meditative state despite our busy schedules. Here are some tips:
Learn how to breathe deeply. Most people are running around in a stressed out state because they aren’t breathing correctly. On average, a person takes 20,000 breaths a day. And, guess how many of those breaths (on average) are deep breaths? For most people, just 4-6. No wonder why so many people are feeling more and more stressed out. Breathe deeply through your nose. Soften your belly. Inhale all the way down to your belly button. Allow your diaphragm and ribcage to expand. And then gently exhale all the air out. Then, do it again and again.
Remind yourself to breathe deeply. Because you probably don’t think about breathing, it’s common to use a shallow breath unless you are reminded to breathe deeply. So, to remind yourself, put up signs and sticky notes that say “Breathe Deep” all around your office, home, and car. These little visual cues will remind you to pause, stop what you are doing, and take 1-3 deep breaths. Every time you do this, you will be oxygenating your blood and brain and activating your body’s “relaxation” response. Each breath will make you feel calmer and more clear-headed. Maybe you’re not a “signs” person. So, instead of using post-it notes (or in addition to using them), you can also set up a reminder on your phone to chime on the hour. When you hear the chime, pause, stop what you are doing, and take 1-3 cleansing deep breaths.
Make a date with a friend. This one can be fun! Ask a friend to join you in attending a yoga class, meditation class, tai chi’ class or some activitiy that promotes experiencing the meditative mind. Meet for yoga and tea. It’s so much more productive and enjoyable.
Declutter a messy space in your home, office, or car. This might sound strange. What does decluttering have to do with meditation? Well, when you meditate, you are simply decluttering and creating space in your mind. And, when you clear space in your physical environment, you are shifting towards being in a state of spaciousness.
Start a short, consistent meditation practice. If you really want to be successful at starting a meditation practice, then aim low. Really low. Just shoot for 3 minutes a day. 3 minutes is not very long…it’s the same length of time as a commercial break, or how long it takes to brush your teeth. When it comes to creating a new habit, frequency is more important than intensity. It’s much better to meditate for just a few minutes a day, every day for a month, than it is to meditate for 90 minutes one time. So, set the timer for 3 minutes, sit up nice and tall with a straight spine, close your eyes, and breathe deep.
Use an app on your smartphone like Calm or Headspace. Guided meditations and visualizations make learning how to meditate so easy! Download an app, and let a guide show you how to meditate. You can take the guesswork out of the entire process and still enjoy all the benefits of meditation.
Go for a meditative walk. Humans were made to walk! The benefits for walking include keeping you trim and healthy, and improving your balance. Since walking is so good for you anyways, why not stack its benefits with meditation? Here’s how you can do it: Mindfully walk. With every step, allow yourself to really feel your foot moving and striking the ground. Feel your arms swing. Notice your surroundings. Hear with your entire body.
Add a mantra to your breath. As you walk, mentally “think” or “vibrate” the word “PEACE.” And, as you exhale, mentally think “PEACE.” Inhale PEACE. Exhale PEACE. There are other mantras you can use. However, just giving your mind something to focus on while you are walking will increase your ability to focus and clear the mind, regardless of what that word is.
Take a cold shower in the morning when you wake up. Cold showers are a form of hydrotherapy that is cleansing and invigorating. A cold shower first thing in the morning will wake you up, make your skin radiant, and activate your glandular system and circulatory system. It will also strengthen your body’s ability to handle stress and to calm down when it experiences stress.
Go on a social media 3-day mini detox. You’re busy and so is everyone else. Yet, if you are too busy for self-care and wellness, well then, maybe it’s time to get things into the correct priority. The little phones that we so diligently carry around with us everywhere we go could be a lot of the reason why you don’t have time to meditate. So, no need to go nuclear on Social Media. Just take a short hiatus. Remove the apps from your phone. Turn off email notifications. And then, go live your life with less distractions, for three days. Spend some time everyday answering the question, “How can I nourish myself every day, from now on?” And then create a plan to make it happen.
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