If you’re new to meditation or have been put off in the past by the thought of having to sit in silence for hours at a time, then I’m here to tell you it only has to take 5 minutes a day and can be done as part of your normal routine.
The biggest myth I hear is that to meditate you need to clear your mind. Have you ever tried to think of nothing – nothing at all? As soon as you set the intention of doing so, your mind fills with everything you don’t want to think of – your shopping list, what time you have to collect the kids, whether you’ve paid your car tax or not, ad infinitum…
So the trick, if you’d like to call it that, is to focus on one thing and let any other thoughts drift away – at least for a few minutes.
“People think the goal of meditation is to empty the mind. It’s not about clearing the mind; it’s about focusing on one thing. When the mind wanders, the meditation isn’t a failure. Our brain is like a wayward puppy, out of control. Catching it and putting it back to the object of focus is the mediation.” ~ Mike Brooks
You may think this is easier said than done, but to be honest it doesn’t have to take hours. In fact, research has proven that regular meditation of even short periods has a better effect than one massive session every couple of months – it’s a compound thing! Making meditation part of your daily routine is the best way to see the benefits of this and you can start with just 5 minutes a day.
So, here are 5 ways to include mindfulness meditation in your every day routine:
#1 – GET OUTDOORS
There is nothing quite as good as getting outside. Whether it’s walking your dog, taking the long route home through the park, pulling weeds or mowing the lawn, getting out into the fresh air can be a form of meditation. Notice how the ground feels beneath your feet, focus on the smells after it’s rained or see the colour of the leaves changing on the trees. The idea is to focus your attention on just that one thing and if you catch your mind wandering, gently return it to focus on that one thing again.
#2 TEA BREAK MEDITATION
Most of us are pretty good at making ourselves a cuppa, but how many of us then use the time we are drinking it to do other things? I know I do and my drink is often cold by the time I come back to it!! So, why not try using your tea break as time for meditation? As you drink and dunk your biccie, notice how your drink tastes and really enjoy the moment. Use your break as a real break and allow yourself 5-10 minutes of mindfulness – it really does work!
#3 WORKOUT MEDITATION
For those of you who like to get out running or on your bike, try leaving your music at home and really focus on your exercise time. Feel the rhythm of your paces or pedals and how the sun feels on your body. Tune in to one sensation at a time and try to let any worries slip away. You can always ‘park’ them away for later. I like to imagine putting those thoughts into a bubble for me to deal with later and then I return my focus to what I was doing.
#4 CAR MEDITATION
I do a lot of these quick meditations when I’m waiting to collect my kids from school. Just a few minutes sitting in the car without any distractions and allowing myself to focus on the birds in the hedge or the way the sun reflects off the windows. It really is that simple and can be a great way of de-stressing before a meeting or even if you are sitting in traffic and waiting for the lights to change!
#5 SHOWER MEDITATION
This is my favourite suggestion when anyone tells me they don’t have time to meditate! We all have time to wash, so why not incorporate your meditation into your shower time? As you wash away physical dirt you can also imagine that the water is washing away your worries and any concerns and giving your energy field a good clean in the process. Just focusing on the experience instead of letting your mind wander is the key.
“Mindfulness helps us freeze the frame so that we can become aware of our sensations and experiences as they are, without the distorting coloration of socially conditioned responses or habitual reactions.” ~ Henepola Gunaratana
Make today the day you start meditating!