For most of us, the thought of stuffing one more thing into our daily routine is enough to make us scream! There’s always rushing around to do, always somewhere to be and something to do. We often feel we work non-stop from dawn till dusk until we finally collapse in our beds at night in preparation to get a few hours of sleep so that we can get up and do it all again tomorrow.
But is that really living? Or just existing? What about finding joy in our lives and really living each moment to the fullest. Do you think those are ideals that only work for other people? Perhaps, suddenly finding a few minutes to meditate each day doesn’t sound like such a monumental task!
A consistent meditation practice has been proven to improve overall mood and feelings of well-being, reduce stress and anxiety, reduce depression and more tolerance for situations that used to cause stress. Sign me up, right?
But the question still remains–when can you fit in this beneficial activity?
The good news is that you don’t have to commit to hours of meditation a day to see these emotional benefits. In as little as 10-15 minutes a day of consistent meditation is enough to start enjoying life more. Medical studies show that these changes can occur in as little as 8 weeks of daily meditation practice.
Another piece of good news is that meditation is easy to do. Yes, there are many different types of meditation instruction available, but the basic instruction in each form of meditation is the same. Sit quietly, follow your breath and notice when your mind wanders. There’s no need to spend months in classes learning how to do it…you can start right now.
While it’s good to set a time each day to meditate formally in a place where you won’t be distracted, you can also take your meditation on the fly! Try going inside and focusing on your breath while:
● Standing in line
● Taking a coffee break at work
● Stopped at a red light
● Waiting in traffic
● Sitting in meetings
● Stopped for a train
● Sitting at your desk
Taking just 3 focused deep breaths can relax your sympathetic nervous system, which is the center for our fight or flight response. When the sympathetic nervous system is “turned off,” the parasympathetic nervous system is able to help calm down and regain a balanced mindset.
Since we breathe all the time, surely we can take a few chances each day to stop, close our eyes (if possible), and focus on 3 nice, deep breaths.
Many people find that they can easily find 10-15 minutes each day to meditate, especially after they experience the calming influence it has on them. Times that work for many people include:
● Getting up 15 minutes earlier before the rest of the house is up
● Turning off the TV or stopping other evening routines 15 minutes earlier
● Right after putting the children to bed
● During a part of their lunch hour
● During a “coffee break”