It seems like there’s never enough time in the day to get everything done—including meditation. But with daily stressors being exacerbated by our heightened connectivity and workloads, it’s all the more necessary. An ancient Zen proverb says that if you have twenty minutes a day to meditate, you should do it, and if you don’t have twenty minutes—do an hour. The lesson here is that meditation is an essential ritual for taking care of your self in mind, body, and spirit, so those who neglect it are those who need it most.
No time? No problem—here are a few practices of meditation that you can do on the go.
The repetitive nature of placing one foot in front of the other has a hypnotic effect should you choose to focus your attention there intentionally. Follow the rhythm of your steps and tune into your breath for meditative movement you can do anywhere—on your morning commute, during a break, or as a post-work release. The key is to tune into your steps and tune out the world.
Breath is the lifeforce—it’s the most natural and automatic bodily process, which makes it a powerful tool for meditation. If you need to calm down before a big moment or want to wake up feeling refreshed, tapping into your breath is an effective way to enter a meditative state—whether you have three minutes or thirty. For a basic practice that you can do even at your desk, close your eyes and breathe in for a count of seven. Then hold for seven. Then release for seven. The hold for seven. Continue this for five to ten cycles. This balance in breathing will naturally calm the senses for a relaxed state.
You may not be the most routine-oriented person, but we can bet that there are activities you do every. Single. Day. Can’t think of one? How about brushing your teeth? Or your morning shower? Using these activities as a trigger to remind you to meditate is an effective way to get your mind in the mood. Try using the repetitive strokes of your toothbrush as a rhythmic tool for relaxation, or focus on the sounds of the water gently falling from the showerhead in the morning, eyes closed and with deep breaths. You don’t have to sacrifice your efficiency to meditate—if anything, by blending mindfulness with daily activity, you’re maximizing your time and setting yourself up for a successful, healthful day.