Meditation has immeasurable benefits – decreasing stress, improving well-being, reducing cardiovascular disease, and so on. The society we live in seems so fast-paced sometimes that the idea of sitting down to meditate for 15-30 minutes a day seems out of reach. Ironically, many of the other things that keep us so busy that we can’t find time to meditate (e.g., working, looking at YouTube videos, reading/posting on Facebook, shopping) don’t give us the happiness and well-being that we seek. We forgo meditation, which is likely to prove much more beneficial, as we chase red herrings.
Here’s a potential solution if you can’t find the time to meditate in the traditional sense. Think of it as an easy intermediary step that still provides many positives without much effort. As one client told me, he likes to “pick the low-hanging fruit.” This is a low-hanging fruit that is ripe for picking.
It’s been said that every mindful breath is its own meditation. Mindfulness involves being in the present moment in a non-judgemental manner. For example, if you are stuck in traffic, instead of judging it to be horrible and becoming angry or stressed about it, you accept that you are in traffic. If being angry and stressed made traffic disappear, I’d be all for it! However, we all know this isn’t the case. Instead of focusing on being stuck, use it as an opportunity to just take 3 slow, deep breaths. Notice how good the oxygen feels, the rising of your chest (or abdomen if you know how to do abdominal breathing). With each exhale, imagine stress leaving your body and your muscles becoming more relaxed. You can do this almost anytime, anywhere: at the office, waiting in line at Starbuck’s, at traffic lights, and so on.
If you practice a few relaxed, mindful breaths several times per day you are, in effect, practicing a form of meditation. Meditation doesn’t always mean that one has to be sitting lotus position and chanting. There are many forms of meditation. By restricting the idea of meditation to the more traditional variety, you might be missing out on an opportunity to integrate a form of mediation into your daily life. I promise, if you learn to do this daily as a practice, as with everything else in life, you will become more proficient at it. Then you will see what a huge impact such a relatively simple change can make. I encourage you to give it a try. I can honestly say that my life has never been the same since I started this practice.