Meditation is good for us. The research is abundant and conclusive. Calming the mind has many benefits. Can you find 30 minutes in your day to meditate, to be totally present and mindful?
I heard that groan! I saw you roll your eyes! You’re busy. I get it. Me, too. So I’ll get right to the point.
It’s not just for monks
A lot of us, when we think of meditation, imagine monks in robes sitting on cushions among misty mountains somewhere in Tibet. Lucky them! Serenity. Quiet contemplation.
And, we think, it’s not something we will ever have time for! We have mortgages and jobs and families.
Another way to look at meditation
The truth is, there are many ways to meditate, as well as a myriad of books and experts to instruct you. But if you don’t have time to take a class or go on retreat, you can still meditate.
Meditation can be as simple as focused thinking. Total presence. Awareness. Right here. Right now. Here are some definitions of meditation that I like:
- the act of giving your attention to only one thing
- the act of remaining in a silent and calm state for a period of time
- the process of quieting the mind
The five-minute meditation break
Here are the simple ground rules you’ll need to follow.
Schedule it: You have the technology, so use it. Choose six times dispersed throughout the day and set an alarm for each. Use your phone, calendar, or watch – whichever device you always have at hand. When the alarm goes off, stop what you’re doing immediately. It’s time for a five-minute meditation break. (5 x 6 = 30)
Commit to it: If your boss, or your child, or your spouse interrupted your day, you would find five minutes for them, right? So give yourself the same courtesy. Interrupt yourself. Step away from distractions (no phones!). Life will still be there when you get back.
Integrate it: Stop thinking of meditation as separate from the rest of your day. Think of it as an essential activity that contributes to your well-being. Just as you have made a habit of brushing you teeth, make meditation a habit.
Don’t overthink it: I find it helpful to change location or position to send a signal to my mind that meditation time has begun. Then, I just keep it as simple and as focused as possible. If your mind wanders, just gently bring it back to the present.
Need help getting started? Try one of these:
- Walk slowly and deliberately counting backwards from 100, one number per step. (Walk forward, count backwards!)
- Focus on your breath. You can use counting here, too. Or, as your breathe, silently repeat “I am breathing in. I am breathing out”. This will help keep your mind from wandering.
- Find a place to sit quietly and simply observe what’s around you, without judging or getting involved in any way. Just be and let it be. Birds sing. Traffic passes. A lawnmower hums in the distance. None of these requires anything from you.
Taking five-minute breaks throughout the day can actually save you time in the long run. If you’re like me, you’ll find that when you return to your day from these meditative breaks you’ll have more clarity and energy, which may result in higher productivity.
Now, give it a try! And let us know how it goes. Did you find another way to unplug and calm the chatter in your mind? Share your thoughts in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you.