“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
We live in a world in which we are taught that the way to be happy is to get something accomplished. Buy something. Post a photo people will like. Send an email. Clean the house. The to-do lists are never ending which can be incredibly draining over time. We may be productive, but are we truly happy within?
People say the hardest part about meditating is finding the time to do so. We are incredibly busy people, making it difficult to stay present and happy. When someone claims they are “too busy to mediate,” they are often the one who need it the most. The busier you are, the more you need time for a bit of mindfulness!
Instead of grabbing another cup of coffee or chocolate bar to give you an energy boost throughout the week, why not try a little mindfulness? Just like you plug in your cellphone each day, plugging into the present can be an excellent way to recharge your body and mind. Here are a few helpful tips and steps on how to find time to mediate.
1.) Get up then sit back down. Although most of us already wake up earlier than we want to, if you allow yourself you wake just 10, 15 or 20 minutes earlier, you can use this time to meditate. As soon as you wake, sit back down to mediate. This will help bring your peaceful state into the entire day.
2.) Do a three-minute breathing space. It’s a short exercise that can make a big difference in your day. When we begin to feel our thoughts or mood spiraling in a negative direction, spending three minutes focused on your breathing is a perfect way for dropping out of autopilot and focusing on your thoughts, feelings and body sensations. Here is a great page that explains how to take on this beneficial practice: http://www.yoga-abode.com/practice/three_minute_breathing_space.
3.) Take a Mindful Walk: Wake up twenty minutes earlier each day to simply walk. Don’t think about your worries, future projects, or your to-do list. Instead, be aware of your body moving, the air against your skin, and birds chirping. Each time your mind wanders, bring your attention back to simply walking. Mindful walking will start your day off refreshed and more energized, plus it has great physical health benefits as well!
4.) Schedule your mediation sessions. Plan your mediation as soon as you get home from work. This is a great way to ease the transition between work and home life. If this doesn’t work for you, perhaps pair your mediation with your work lunch break. Find a quiet nook in or around the office and devote a slice of your lunchtime to sit in stillness. Make this a habit and your lunch break will soon begin to feel like a tranquil escape!
There are some wonderful smart phone apps out there that help schedule your meditations and keep you on track. Here are a few recommended apps for meditation on-the-go:
Headspace: Customized reminders, buzzers, check-ins and meditations
The Mindfulness App: Set reminders to tell you when it’s time to meditate, get mindfulness notices, and find guided meditations ranging from 3 to 30 minutes
Insight Timer: Sets customized timers, bells, intervals, and track your progress
5.) Devote one minute, five times a day. We can all spare 5 minutes of the day to practice mindfulness, don’t you think? Try to schedule one-minute windows throughout your day. If you sit for just one minute and focus on your breath: deep inhales and slow exhales, you will calm your mind and create a more peaceful state. Suggested times for this are: when you wake, when you arrive to work, between meetings, after lunch, before dinner, and before bed – but of course, choose times that work best for you!
Turn your busy day into a mindful day – You will not be disappointed with the outcome. We can all relate to not having enough time in life; however those who mediate regularly have found they actually have more time because they are more productive.
By coming back to the moment over and over again you will improve your ability to take care of your busy day with more ease. You will have more attention and focus so you get things done faster. You will be utilizing the decision-making, creative parts of your brain so your performance will improve. And you will be calmer which makes you feel good and enhances the quality of the relationships you have with others.
Do you think you have what it takes to be mindful? We hope these steps have helped to guide you in the right direction so you incorporate the mindfulness practice into your daily routine!