By Our Friend: Tyler Greenberg. Please visit his website – Meditate Life, meditatelife.org
We all have busy routines. We get up, get ready, eat, go to work, come home, eat, then go to bed. Sometimes we can feel like there is no time to sit down and meditate. How could we possibly think of meditating when we hardly have any time to do the other things we enjoy? However, practicing mindfulness can be done almost anywhere and anytime.
Mindfulness meditation just requires us to be aware of ourselves and the world around us. We do not need to be in a specific place at a specific time. It can be as simple as being aware of our breathing. We just need to follow our breath as it goes in and out, and being conscious of the sensations that it brings. We can eventually expand our awareness to sounds that we hear, not labeling them or placing them, but just knowing that they are there. We can also let ourselves be aware of our feet on the ground or our clothes on our skin. Of all of these, paying attention to my breath is my favorite and I find it the most relaxing.
This kind of mindfulness doesn’t take much time and can be done while we are doing other tasks. An example that I use often is brushing our teeth. I sometimes “zone out” while brushing my teeth, but it is much better to use this time to do a short mindfulness exercise. Just feel the sensations of brushing your teeth. That is all it takes to practice a little mindfulness. By the time you are done, you have been mindful for two minutes! That might seem like a lot, but it is enough to start or end your day relaxed and with extra mental clarity. Also, using brushing your teeth reminds you to meditate every day.
As I mentioned, meditating does not always require a lot of time. While sometimes it may be helpful to have a longer meditation, we can see benefits from short sessions of mindfulness. I was lucky enough to be gifted an Apple Watch from a family member, and they have a fantastic app built in. Their app, Breathe, is a meditation app that just has you focus on your breath. You can choose any time between 1 and 5 minutes. It shows you a little animation that expands while vibrating and contracts to show you when you should breath. At the end, it shows you your heart rate. Even after a 1 minute session, my heart rate goes down noticeably. I can go from 100 bpm to 68 bpm after a 5 minute session. This is also great because it can be used any time, anywhere. I am not saying that you need to go and buy an Apple Watch, but it shows that practicing these little bouts of mindfulness can show physical results.
While it may be difficult to imagine ourselves with the time to meditate, we can take a few moments to meditate. We can even be mindful of other things we are doing. Even short sessions of mindfulness can have a significant physical effect to help us throughout the day. Are there any moments that you can think of to incorporate mindfulness into your day?