Mindfulness plays an important role in my life. I meditate daily, breathe deeply and practice yoga. While all these things are very important to me, I don’t always have time to practice them on a daily basis. Between answering emails, going to school, work and my internship I find it hard to just stop and think sometimes.
However, the benefits of meditation are amazing, and I value my mind and body enough to make time to meditate even when there is none.
This semester, I made a pledge to myself that I would spend more time taking care of myself. I always make sure to take a moment during my day to meditate, reflect and breathe, and you can too!
The following methods will help you quiet the busy and stressed energy inside of you in order to meditate without feeling sabotaged by the rest of the day’s many plans.
Decide On A Time And A Place
In order for a routine to truly stick with me, I have to practice it on a consistent, daily basis. It needs to feel as normal as brushing my teeth every morning or eating breakfast. That’s why I practice yoga first thing in the morning every single day. Of course, it wasn’t easy to make this a habit. I am a night owl by nature. I can stay up until 2:00 A.M. watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix if I have the chance. But I choose not to because I know I would just be upset with myself the next day if I did that. And I’d have to hit snooze a few times to get my day started.
I meditate right before my daily workout. Sometimes it changes, and I will meditate after my workout. However, it is always before or after. After practicing this for a few weeks, it has become a part of my schedule. Now, no matter how busy of a day I have ahead of me, I take time out in the morning to set my intentions and relax my mind.
Get a Meditation Timer
Purchasing a meditation timer was definitely one the best things I have ever done. I don’t use it now that I’ve made meditation a daily habit but I found it to be a great help when I first started practicing meditation. One of the problems I faced when meditating was not focusing during my practice because I was afraid of how long or how short I would last. This was counter-productive.
My mind was constantly thinking about the length of time I was meditating and as a result, I lost touch of why I was meditating in the first place. That’s where the meditation timer came into play. I would set the timer for the amount of time that I wished to meditate, and it would then let me know when I was finished.
It’s a great purchase for beginners who are just starting to practice meditation.
Allow Your Mind To Roam Freely
One of the biggest challenges a busy person faces when beginning a meditation practice is succumbing to the distractions of his or her own thoughts. When I first started meditating, my mind would think about anything and everything that I had to do that day. Whether it was working out, finishing an English paper or making sure I answered the phone when my mom calls so I don’t get yelled at for the millionth time, I was always thinking about something.
In order to deal with my constant thoughts during meditation, I decided that I would try to stop them. That solution didn’t quite work how I thought it would. This would just intensify stress about postponing my thoughts. Instead, I decided to allow myself a few minutes, or however long it took, for the thoughts to subside naturally. Soon, I realized that not thinking about stopping my thoughts was actually what stopped them.
Meditating doesn’t always mean sitting still in one place with your legs crossed and chest upright. Meditation can take place in many forms, and breathing deeply is one of them. When I find myself being too busy with work or school I just make sure that I go outside during a break and take a few deep breaths.
As silly as it may seem, breathing deeply helps to calm my nerves and relax my mind. The act of breathing in fresh air immediately makes me feel relaxed. It gives me a chance to be still, even if it is only for a few minutes or seconds.
Spend Time In Nature
It doesn’t matter if it is in the morning before school or at night after a long day of work, you need to get out in nature! Nature is the best therapist you will ever have. It’s free, beautiful and it’s here year-round. Nothing makes me feel more relaxed that going outside, hugging a tree and feeling the fresh air on my skin.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time in nature to feel better, but just a bit will instantly relieve you of whatever stress you’re feeling.