High stress levels usually accompany a hectic lifestyle, some busy professionals lose sleep trying to keep up with their busy workload, or find their work life encroaches massively on their personal life. Everyday stress comes from trying to perform well at work, make time for your friends and family, keep fit and get enough sleep.
Taking time for the most important people in our lives, ourselves, usually takes a backseat.
If you live by a busy schedule, you probably feel like there aren’t enough hours in the week to do everything you need to do, let alone add in a meditation practice.
So what are some of the reasons you might want to consider meditation?
Meditation is the practice of paying attention to the present moment, it requires sitting with your eyes closed and observing your thoughts and feelings, without getting carried away by them. A regular practice can make you feel calmer, and works effectively at reducing stress and anxiety.
Though the practices of yoga and meditation are thousands of years old, they are currently taking the world of mainstream media by storm - mindfulness appears to be everywhere. Even science is beginning to take a serious look at how meditation can significantly decrease stress. A study by Clinical Psychology Review on loving kindness meditation, found that it helps alleviate anxiety and helps practitioners to cope better in stressful situations.
But what if you don’t have the time?
Fear not, as little as a few minutes a day can have outstanding effects.
Meditation, in its most simple form, is being aware. Taking a few minutes a day to be fully present without the distractions of the past or the future, can sharpen your focus and leave you feeling refreshed. Here are a few things you need to know about fitting a meditation practice into your day:
Make sure you are comfortable. If you can’t find a space alone, then even just making sure you are comfortable in your chair at your desk or even on the train will do.
Close your eyes for 5-10 minutes. The aim is not to try and clear your mind, but to be aware of it. Notice each thought that comes into your awareness. Don’t try and analyse it or explore it, just notice it and then let it go.
If you’re having trouble focusing, try counting your breaths, count up to ten and then start again. Engage all your senses on the action of breathing. Even something this simple gives your mind some space away from the stresses of everyday life.
The best time to insert a little meditation is either just before bed, or in the morning before your morning coffee. If that is a struggle then find a few minutes anywhere in your day that work for you, maybe even arriving to your yoga class ten minutes early and taking some time on your mat to sit and be still.
It doesn’t take any fancy equipment or long tutorials, all it takes is a few minutes, your body and your breath. A few minutes a day will improve your focus and reduce your stress making you a more productive, healthier and happier human being.