Is trying to find time to meditate actually causing you anxiety?
Updated: Jan 31, 2019
These six tips will help you fit meditation into your busy life.
In the last few years, meditation has exploded all over the world, and many of its multiple benefits have been scientifically verified. More and people are trying to bring some peace and calm into their lives with meditation.
Becoming a regular meditator is easier said than done. If the idea of fitting meditation into your already overloaded schedule makes you hyperventilate, you’re not alone. Stop. Breathe. And read on.
Change your approach
Instead of seeing meditation as yet another thing that you need to squeeze onto your To-Do list, realise that meditation gives you the focus and sense of clarity to help you get more things done in your day. Ghandi famously said, "I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditatefor two hours instead of one."
Jerry Seinfeld told Good Morning America, "With 'Seinfeld,' I was doing a TV series in which I was the star of the show, the executive producer of the show, the head writer, in charge of casting and editing, for 24 episodes on network television - not cable - for nine years! And I’m just a normal guy. And that was not a normal situation to be in… So I meditated every day. And that’s how I survived the nine years."
When you’re establishing a meditation practice, consistency is the most important thing. So if 20 minutes a day seems too much, try 10 minutes, or even 5. Everyone has 5 minutes a day. Try setting your alarm a little bit earlier, sitting in your car during your lunch break or using some of the time that you normally spend on social media.
Create a habit
It can take as little as 21 days to create a habit. Try meditating at the same time, in the same place, every day. The more you meditate, the easier it becomes and the more you see start to experience the fruits of your meditation, which in turn motivates you to keep meditating.
Get rid of expectations
Many people have expectations of what should happen during meditation. Are you expecting it to be calm and blissful? Are you waiting for a transformative, spiritual experience? All these thing could happen, but if you’re expecting them to happen, you could be setting yourself up for failure. Meditations can vary from thought-filled to irritating to sublime and everything in between. If you’re having lots of thoughts it doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong or that you aren’t benefitting from your meditation – it means you’re human. Ditch the expectations and allow the process to unfold naturally.
Most meditation is very simple, but it’s also very easy to change the instructions slightly or fall back on common misconceptions that you might have. Even small variations on the techniques can produce different experiences. If you’re serious about adopting a meditation practice, it’s advisable to learn from a qualified meditation instructor. Often they will check your technique going forward and give you access to group classes and retreats to deepen and support your practice.
Find the right fit
There are so many forms of meditation, you could try anything from Ananpana breathing to Zen, so when you’re starting out it’s worthwhile exploring a few to see what meditation type really resonates with you. It’s a lot easier to meditate regularly when you find a meditation type that feels natural. You may need to look beyond traditional meditation. Running, yoga, walking meditation or prayer can all be forms of meditation. My "Exploring meditation" course is a good way to try out a few different types of meditation to see which on resonates with you.
If you still think that you’re too stressed out at the moment and you couldn’t possibly find the time to meditate, it’s probably a really good time to start. Chances are you aren’t nearly as busy as Jerry Seinfeld!