Most of us think of meditation as hours spend in a cross-legged position reaching some sort of enlightenment. But meditation can be as simple as taking a deep breath in and out and it can be as short as one minute. In any case, the benefits are astounding - from reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, better sleep, clear mind and overall happiness - just to name a few.
I first discovered meditation in a very difficult time of my life and the fifteen minutes I devoted to it every day made a huge difference in coping with my stress and emotional pain. I used to find meditation weird but the reality is that we can find our own way of practicing it - in fact, you most likely are doing so already without realizing it. Have you ever walked in the park focusing on the noise of the leaves under your shoes? Or have you walked out of a meeting and taken a deep breath while closing your eyes? Actions like this relax the mind and relieve stress and the body does them instinctively when needed.
Science has proven that slowing down our brain activity releases hormones that are very beneficial to our health. In our busy lives we rarely allow ourselves to slow down and by doing so we don't give a chance to our body and mind to take the care they need. So taking few minutes a day to slow down should be a required maintenance practice that, trust me, will change your life.
So here are some easy technics you can do anywhere anytime.
Count your breaths
The easiest way of mindful meditation is to count your breaths. Sit or get comfortable, closing your eyes helps to eliminate any distractions but it is not required. "One" breath in, "two" breath out. If your mind drifts away, simply notice what you are thinking about and bring your attention back to the breath. Doing this even for one minute will be beneficial but fifteen minutes will be optimal.
This is so simple and so effective. Just focus your mind on each step you take. Hear the noise under your shoes, notice how each foot touches the ground, hear the small noise you normally ignore. Breath. It is best to go for a walk in the park or the forest because being amongst nature also calms the mind but if you don't have time for that, doing this during your walk to work is just fine.
This is similar to counting your breaths but instead silently repeat a word or a phrase. Something inspiring, affirmative or calming - whatever you need at the moment. You can also alternate between two phrases when breathing in and out.
Favorite place meditation
This one is fun. Close your eyes and imagine you are in a favorite place, real or imaginative. Breath slower and deeper but without effort. Explore this place in your mind by paying attention to any noises, smells, colors - put as much detail as you wish to transport yourself to this place for fifteen minutes or as long as you like.
Lie on your back and start "walking" up your body, starting from the toes. Focus on every part, acknowledge how it feels and release any stress or tension. When you reach your head think of your whole body relaxed, light and peaceful.
As any holistic practice, consistency is key. But be easy on yourselves - if you don't get to it some days it is ok. Once you see the benefits you will want to find the time. And even if it is one minute you have between phone calls - just focus on your breath without thinking of anything else. You will be amazed what sixty seconds of "break" can do for your wellbeing.