Scented candles. Dedicated floor pillow. Tranquil corner. All are necessities for meditation. Ha! Many of us can’t get five seconds alone to pee let alone a solitary 10 minutes in peaceful privacy. Fortunately, you don’t need a personal sanctuary to reap the benefits of meditation.
We’re all pretty fluent in multi-tasking: mentally running the daily to-do list, making lunches, starting a quick load of laundry, replying to an email, all while getting the kids in the car for school.
But, how efficient are we at thinking about nothing?
When is the last time you closed your eyes and didn’t let a single thought cross your mind?
Umm…probably never, right?
The dictionary definition of “meditate” is
1. to engage in thought or contemplation; reflect.
2. to engage in transcendental meditation, devout religious contemplation, or quiescent spiritual introspection.
Thirty minutes of meditation is ideally recommended to recognized the benefits of lower blood pressure, increased immunity, decreased pain, improved digestion (decrease in IBS), and balanced emotions.
Much like exercising the body, though, quieting the mind in small doses throughout the day has its benefits as well.
When you feel tension and stress rising, quiet your mind with three to five deep breaths. If the situation is safe (meaning you’re not driving!), close your eyes.
If your eyes are open, focus on a specific object in front of you. If your eyes are closed, draw your attention to the center of your forehead.
As you inhale deeply, allow your abdomen to expand. As you exhale, your abdomen will naturally contract.
If it’s difficult to ignore the voice inside your head (reminding you to finish that email, or don’t forget to pick up the dry cleaning) try slowly counting to four as you inhale, and backwards to one as you exhale.
Although it isn’t thirty minutes of guided imagery, three to five deep, focused breaths, can bring clarity and calm to your mind.
There will still be mortgages to pay, kids fighting, meals to plan, and a full in-box. What can change, though, is the way you respond to these stressors.