How to Find Time For a Meditation Practice
I know how it goes. You welcomed in the new year (or maybe you just decided to create some new habits regardless of the date on the calendar) and you decided you really wanted to start meditating regularly. You had great intentions too! Maybe you downloaded a app or found some meditation videos to follow, or perhaps you simply created a new alarm on your phone to ring daily to remind yourself to sit and meditate.
But how often do you make a resolution to yourself only to find life got busy and next thing you know, you’ve fallen off the bandwagon? Meditation, regardless of what you might believe, does not require huge chunks of time where you sit in silence and shut out the world. You CAN find time for a meditation practice. Let me show you how.
1. Meditate when you wake up.
Sometimes the best way to do something consistently is to do it first thing in the morning, before the day gets busy and you find excuses to put it off until you don’t do it at all. I am not a morning person so I am also not the girl who jumps out of bed to exercise before the sun even wakes up. Meditation is not physical though and it doesn’t require a lot of effort, so I find it easy to fit in first thing.
You can set your alarm for five or ten minutes earlier than you need to get up. When the alarm goes off, simply sit up in bed and meditate. This is a great time to focus on calming any anxiety you may have about the day that lies ahead or you can repeat mantras to help you feel strong and ready to take on your work tasks.
Meditating right away when you’ve just woken up can be really helpful to avoid reacting negatively to challenges that pop up throughout your day. You may think you can’t do it when you’re barely even awake but it’s actually a wonderful time to put good, positive intentions right into your subconscious.
Just make sure you sit up; sometimes I try to meditate while I’m still lying down and next thing I know the snooze alarm is going off again and I realize that I actually fell straight back to sleep!
2. Meditate during your commute.
I do not recommend meditation while driving your car. Please stay focused on the road. However, if you are like many people and you commute to work or school by bus, train, subway, etc, then you can absolutely meditate instead of staring out the window.
Public transit means lots of noise, between the engine, the people talking, the stop-and-go. It can make it more difficult to just close your eyes and focus on your breathing. It’s very distracting.
This is when it’s great to have some guided meditations. A lot of apps come pre-loaded with them. I’m a big fan of Insight Timer and also Calm. You can try a great deal of totally free apps for this purpose (and as a bonus they allow you to track your progress) or you can simply download guided meditation audio clips.
Use this kind of meditation to keep you calm and peaceful on the way to work, or if you have a rough day that didn’t go they way you wanted you can shake it off on your commute back home. The latter means that you will be more likely to avoid letting any negativity from the day taint your time at home with your family or yourself.
3. Meditate in the shower.
No, don’t worry, this isn’t about to get inappropriate.
You have to shower anyway, right? It doesn’t matter whether you’re a morning shower person or (like me) a night shower person. Once you’re in and you’ve taken care of the shampoo and the soap, take a few moments to stand quietly beneath the spray.
Close your eyes and imagine that the water is washing away more than just the dirt and sweat that it normally does. In your mind’s eye, let yourself see the water washing away any stress, anxiety, or anger. Actually picture the negative emotion as something visible on your skin. Let the water rinse it until it flows down the drain.
When you get out you’ll be more than just clean.
You’ll be in a great place emotionally and mentally too.
4. Meditate on the go.
When you think of meditating, you probably immediately think of someone sitting perfectly still, cross-legged on the ground or on a pillow. That’s a valid way to meditate.
However, you can also meditate on the go. Take a walk and unplug your music for awhile. Instead, focus on your breathing and acknowledge the sounds around you. Listen closely to the birds singing, the wind or rain, or even the sounds of traffic as cars and trucks go by.
See everything around you. See the green or a tree, the white of snow on the ground, the blue of the sky.
Inhale and exhale deeply. Being outside is a fantastic way to reduce stress and anxiety anyway. Turning it into a meditative experience increases the effect.
5. Choose to meditate.
There are things that we must do. We must work, we must eat, we must take care of our homes and our families. But there are times that we do things because we choose to do them.
Decide that meditation is something you will choose. You could watch a re-run of a show you enjoy, but you could also sit and meditate for a bit instead. You could scroll through Facebook for the fifth time in as many hours just in case something exciting has happened that just can’t wait, or you could use that time to be mindful instead of mindless.
When you actively choose to meditate you will find you have more than enough time for a meditation practice.
6. Meditate before bed.
One of my favorite things is to meditate right before bed. There are so many reasons it can work for you.
You’re likely in your pajamas so you’re already wearing something nice and comfy. You don’t have eight million other things competing for your attention. You’re also about to lie in bed and head off to sleep so it’s a perfect time to seal in some positive thoughts and feelings after a busy day.
The best part of meditating before bed is that it automatically helps you to loosen up your tense body, so you’ll be ready to drift off into dreamland. And if you struggle with insomnia, meditation can be a great help for relaxing your body muscle by muscle – not to mention, it will clear your mind so that constant babble will let you sleep!
7. Know you don’t need large amounts of time.
Meditating every day for an hour would be fantastic. It’s also not very realistic for most people.
Luckily, one of the biggest misconceptions of meditation is that you need to do it for long periods of time. Even if you only have five or ten minutes, you will get so many benefits from meditating.
If you’re always waiting for the day you can fit in 30 minutes of meditation you’ll never find it. If you can find just five minutes to follow your breath – and believe me, you HAVE five minutes – you will feel positive side effects in short order.
I can always tell when I have neglected my meditation practice. My anxiety increases and I become more prone to full-blown panic attacks. Bringing myself back to a regular practice always helps.
Which tip do you think will help you make more time for meditation?
Please share this post with someone who could use a little more time for meditation!