You've heard about all the benefits associated with mindfulness meditation. You want to be involved, establish a practice, and experience those benefits yourself: lowered stress and anxiety; improved emotional regulation; increases in the areas of attention span, focus, and executive functioning. These sound great, but when can you fit it in?
You don't "fit" mindfulness into your schedule. Rather, you make the time and take the time. You do this because you are just that important to yourself, and to those around you, that you make sure this is a daily practice.
Still can't figure out when it would work for you? Try a few of these suggestions.
Will mornings work for you? Sure, you say, except for the kids and carpooling. Or you just have to watch the morning news and complete the crossword puzzle. And, besides, you're always feeling like you're rushing because you're running late to get wherever you're supposed to be going. How could you meditate in the morning?
- Wake up before the kids do. Find a spot where you can be alone (a closet? a corner of an extra bedroom or home office? how about a corner of the dining room?), set a timer, and give yourself the amount of time that's right for you.
- Don't think of waking up earlier as a punishment, because it's not! You don't have to wake up earlier; you get to wake up earlier to experience the quiet start of a new day. You're blessed that you now have a moment to feel the calm energy of your home around you. Did you ever imagine that you would have this gift of time to appreciate the miracles in the world, like hearing birds sing or seeing dew resting softly on the grass?
- How fortunate are you that you can take a moment to set your intention for the day to come? Maybe you'll want to focus on how you can show people extra appreciation today, or surprise others with an unexpected treat. Maybe you'll decide that today will be a good opportunity to show extra kindness to yourself. You're going to avoid the negative self-talk, and remove yourself from as many pessimistic influences as you possibly can. Sure, you might have to give up a television show, time reading that new novel, or even put aside that new recording you've been wanting to play for yourself. But this is better. This is going to positively impact your entire day, and then your entire life!
Does the night seem to be a better time for you to meditate?
- What can you remove from your regular routine in order to have an opportunity to focus on your breath? That time just before going to bed?
- Is this when you'll find the occasion to clear your mind? Have you thought about, just as you are finishing your mindfulness, taking an extra few minutes to reflect on the positive events that took place within the last 24 hours? Maybe you'll write down the events that really stood out in a positive way, remembering exactly what happened, who said what, how each person responded and how it felt. And, not only how it felt to you then, but how it feels to you now!
And maybe, just maybe, you'll have found a few opportunities during the course of your busy day to notice the smells around you that you'd normally let pass by, the colors on the flowers you didn't even notice yesterday, or the texture of the steering wheel in your car. And that tinkling of the tags on that dog that passes by so often. Do those tags always make that sound? You'd never noticed before! And how lunch tasted today? Superb!
Yes, during the day maybe you'll have stopped, every so often, just to take three deep breaths and focus on the beauty of the world around you. You'll do this because you've realized, finally, that you really are that important. To yourself. And to those around you.
Yes, you will make sure this is a daily practice. May you find peace and goodness, always.