I get it. I’m a busy bee too. I add something to my “to-do” list just as fast as I cross something off. It can leave me feeling overwhelmed and anxious about fitting it all in. And while as much as I embrace the benefits of self-care (I love a good bath, or long run), sometimes taking time for myself can be put to the wayside amongst all the other obligations or commitments in my day.
Meditation commonly comes with the association of time. Extended time. I used to think that the goal was always to meditate for longer, but once I started integrating a few approachable techniques, none of which take longer than 5 minutes, I realized it’s better to do something, than nothing at all. I have found by practicing a combination of mindfulness, and simple meditations each week, I have an increased appreciation for the little things, which helps me feel grateful and have a more positive mindset. Adding one of these to my day helps me feel more prepared to take on the chaos.
This is a simple meditation to do when you are waiting. In line, in the car, on the sideline, or in the boardroom. Focus on the sensation of your feet pressing firmly into your shoes (or chair if you’re seated). Imagining roots, or anchors going from your soles or your seat, deep into the ground (like a tree). Focus on the sensation of becoming anchored, centered and steady.
Soak in your Surroundings:
Bring your attention to the present moment, by soaking in your surroundings. Notice all the details, starting with the most obvious: colors, shapes and sounds. Gradually start to shift your focus to more subtle elements: textures, smells, and the temperature around you. This is a great practice to get out of your head and into the now.
Starting at the top of your head, scan yourself downwards through your neck, core, arms, hips, legs and feet. Notice sensations like tingling, stiffness, heaviness, or tightness. Wherever you find these points, bring your attention acutely to that body part, and focus on the opposite sensation, as if to direct a more balanced energy inside (i.e. lightness instead of heaviness). Often the tension will dissipate through our increased attention.
Mood Meter App:
If you feel emotional overwhelm as much as you do schedule overwhelm, you may want to start logging your moods. Using the Mood Meter App, you can track moods and emotions, using a scale based on energy (high or low), and pleasantness (or unpleasantness). If a mood is less desirable, the app makes a few recommendations, such as an uplifting quote, strategy, or a reminder about a time you logged a more positive emotion. So—don’t forget to log the good things too!
Reflecting on experiences from your day, jot down the first 3 to 5 things that pop to mind, no matter how small. Could be the fact traffic wasn’t bad that morning, or you got the kids to school ahead of schedule.
Take three deep breaths, centering your attention to your plate, noticing the textures and smells. With eat bite, place your fork down, and focus on chewing thoroughly and allowing the tastes to really get absorbed by your tongue. Even try closing your eyes at one point, noticing the sensations inside your mouth exclusively.
Start with just one of these simple techniques that resonate with you, and build up to a consistent daily habit.
If you’ve had success with other simple meditation or mindfulness practices, let us all know below!