You know that meditation has numerous benefits, right? Yet, you’re not meditating. Maybe you just feel your mind is so busy and you can’t quiet the thoughts. Or maybe you already have such a packed schedule that taking another 20 or 30 minutes to meditate just isn’t happening!
Instead of meditation, think “mindfulness.” Taking a few minutes to be fully present, focusing on your breath or what you are doing at that particular moment. While extended meditation does have some amazing benefits, you can also boost your mindfulness with brief breaks of a few minutes or less. Try these tips for calming your mind even on your busiest days.
Brief Meditations: How to Do It
1. Focus on your breath. Pay attention to your breath as it enters and leaves your nostrils. Follow its path up and down your body. Notice how your abdomen and chest rise and fall when you inhale and exhale deeply.
2. Scan your body. Search for areas of tension. Massage your stiff shoulders or hands as you imagine your breath warming and healing them.
3. Observe your thoughts. Check out what’s on your mind without making judgements. Let your mind slow down.
4. Embrace your feelings. You can meditate when you’re feeling content or dealing with major stress. Remember that your emotions are temporary and you decide how to respond to any situation.
5. Watch closely. Lock your eyes onto a chosen object. Pick a candle with a flickering flame or a tree bough swaying in the breeze.
6. Chant out loud. Fill your mind with a spiritual mantra or an inspiring saying of your own. Repeat it 3 times.
7. Touch an object. Sometimes touching a meaningful object is helpful during meditation. You can wear a bracelet or rub a favorite crystal as a trigger to bring your mind back to a beautiful and wholesome state. I have a labradorite heart-shaped crystal that I use often during meditation times.
Brief Meditations: When to Do It
Some of these suggestions below may seem like these are too short in duration to provide any benefits. However, any time you can stop for a minute or so and just breathe and “be,” it helps refocus your energy and helps to de-stress.
1. Rethink your drive time. Before you back out of your driveway, take a minute to just breathe. You’ll be more relaxed on your drive and it slows down the pace. You can also use red lights and stop signs as a reminder to breathe.
2. Take a break during meetings. You can check in with your mind during a long meeting (or while waiting for an appointment) the same way you check on phone calls and text messages. Ask yourself how you’re feeling. Check in and see if you’re irritated, anxious, sad, or worried. Being aware of how you’re feeling is great insight.
3. Strengthen your mind and body. Connect with your mind as you build up your body. Close your eyes and deep breath for a few minutes on the treadmill or while at the swimming pool.
4. Connect with your partner. Make a date with your partner. Start the day off on a positive note by meditating together for a few minutes before breakfast.
5. Bond with your kids. Mindfulness exercises can be especially beneficial for children. Make your sessions fun by keeping them short and simple. Throw in some yoga poses, singing, and visualizations that will appeal to your child’s imagination.
6. Waiting…productively. Your daily life is probably full of waiting and, often times, long lines. Next time you’re in line to mail a last-minute present at the busy post office, remember that you can close your eyes for a minute and no one will notice. It will help you, though, pass the time without losing your spot.
7. Skip commercials. Make the mute button your friend! Instead of hearing the latest and greatest product that advertisers are selling you, enjoy the silence. We are all bombarded with so much noise, this can be a short pleasant break.
8. Eat mindfully. Do you automatically reach for a donut or a margarita after a rough day? On the other hand, maybe you try to soothe yourself with a little retail therapy. Meditation could be a healthier and less expensive response to stress.
Let go of stress and boost your concentration with a quick meditation session. By incorporating several of this mini-sessions, you can start enjoying greater peace of mind in just a few minutes a day. That’s a miracle worth celebrating.