Many people who are interested in meditation know it’s good for them and why … that’s why they’re interested in beginning a practice. But sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes a 10-minute task—no matter how important it is—can feel overwhelming.
If you’re one of those who think you don’t have 10 minutes to meditate during your day, here’s what I have to say: I bet you have one.
The assumption that meditation takes a certain amount of time, or setting an expectation around the amount of time you need to meditate, is something I generally disagree with. As far as meditation goes, to me, something is better than nothing. If I were told I had to spend 20 minutes every morning in meditation before I began, I would never have started. Sometimes it’s better to dive in head first. But I eased in … and for some people, that’s the way.
This post will offer some advice for those overwhelmed with beginning a formal meditation practice, or those that need a plan B for finding mindfulness in your day when you skipped your normal meditation.
Last week, I skipped a couple of morning meditations, which is something I rarely do. I just got caught up in the “too busy” mode. By mid-morning each of those days, I noticed how much that morning stillness was missing from my day.
So I took a minute.
And then continued my day.
Then I took another minute. And another. And another. And it totally helped me sink more calmly into my day. I’m not recommending that I, or anyone else skip their morning meditation. But … if you do … there’s a plan B.
Just 1 Minute
Take one minute to yourself, 10 times a day, or five or 20. Plan it by how long your daily meditation usually is, or however long feels right to you. If you normally meditate for 20 minutes, plan to take one minute every half hour or so to make up for it. If five minutes seems right, take one minute five times during your day. That’s it. I can relate when people say “I don’t have 10 free minutes.” But everyone has one.
When to take a minute? Here are some ideas:
- As soon as you wake up
- As soon as you get to work and before you head into your day
- Between tasks, meetings, calls, or classes
- After you eat lunch
- As soon as you get home from work
- Any time you feel stressed … as soon as you feel stress begin to rise inside of you
- Before a difficult conversation or undesirable task
- After a difficult conversation or undesirable task
- After dinner
- Before bedtime
The one-minute practice can compliment your morning meditation, or replace it if you missed it or the morning isn’t working for you.
I recommend scheduling it so it becomes a habit and you don’t forget. There are a few apps that will do the legwork for you … just set them up and let the app tell you when to take a mindful minute. Sometimes it’s good to customize the schedule and create one-minute windows ahead of time for consistency, while other times it works to let the app tell you when to take a minute. Try Headspace and The Mindfulness App.
- Close your eyes
- Focus on your breath: Deep inhales and slow exhales
- Repeat 6-8 times (or more if you have more than a minute!)
- Optional: Use a timer and set for one minute. Timers work well to make sure you don’t get lost in meditation if you have something scheduled soon after
- Enjoy a more peaceful state as you slip back into your day