When people think of meditation, they often picture zen yogis on the mountainside, eyes closed and sitting for hours. We envy the dedication and focus of these individuals and just can't quite imagine being away from the hustle and bustle long enough to reach this sort of serenity. Figuring out how to properly meditate (especially how to do so on the go) isn't the easiest task, but the truth is that mindfulness meditation can be as simple as just taking the time to acknowledge your present moments and your thoughts.
While that may seem banal, basic mindfulness meditation has a lot of health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, according to Harvard Health. Meditation can even helping with eating and sleep habits, according to Prevention. Additionally, there's no need to worry if you're a busy bee; even just 10 minutes of meditation can bring along many healthy benefits.
"It can be hard to justify incorporating meditation into an already jam-packed life, but it’s that much more vital and beneficial the busier life is," says positive psychology expert and holistic coach Pax Tandon to Bustle over email. "That’s because meditation creates more space and more efficient and focused attention to tasks, rather than taking time and space away. It also decreases the need for sleep because it’s so effective at giving our brains rest and recharge. It’s like wakeful mental rest."
No matter how hectic your life may seem, you can always fit in a moment for meditation, whether it's during your morning commute, right before you go to bed, or while you're waiting in line for lunch. If you're trying to fit in a moment of peace between the craziness of your day, try one of these seven tips to practicing meditation while you're on the go.
1. Place Dots Around Your House
"Place dots (or any sticker you like) around the house, in the car, in your office or at your desk," says Tandon. "These will be your reminders to meditate." These stickers will act as primers, reminding your brain to meditate as soon as you see them.
"When you see a sticker, take a few moments to close your eyes, turn inward, and breathe," she says. Your stickers can also be a reminder to to practice gratitude, loving-kindness, or other positive-inducing thoughts.
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2. Make It A Group Activity
If you're constantly surrounded by people throughout the day, try encouraging your friends, family, or coworkers to join in the meditation with you.
"This minimizes many of the distractions that might be holding you back from your meditation, and spreads the many benefits of the practice to those you love," says Tandon. "Maybe during the lunch hour, everyone practices a meditation together."
3. Focus On Your Breath While Walking Or Running
If you're headed to your next destination by foot, consider turning your focus inward and concentrating on the repetitive motions of your steps.
"You can use your commute to get more mindful by focusing on your breath while you walk," clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis, PhD tells Bustle over email. "Personally, I use the repetitive action of running as a meditative exercise, which is good for body and soul."
4. Meditate While You Wait
"If you are waiting in line or are stuck in traffic try breathing deeply to reduce your feelings of anxiety that may come up while on your way to work," suggests Michaelis. "Taking deep breaths improves the flow of oxygen in your body and helps you to calm down."
5. Use An App
If you have a hard time focusing when out and about, try using a meditation app to help guide your practice.
"Apps like Buddhify are a great way to use technology to shoehorn in some guided meditation during your day," says Michaelis. Having some guidance is a great way to kickstart your mindfulness habits.
6. Meditate While Brushing Your Teeth
"Commit to meditation in your day like you commit to other forms of hygiene," says Tandon. "Like all other forms you wouldn’t skip out on — taking a shower, brushing your teeth, wearing clean clothes — mental hygiene should be the same."
In fact, why not kill two birds with one stone and try closing your eyes and meditating while brushing your teeth — you know you'll be doing it at least twice a day (or at least I hope so!).
7. Take A Second Before Going Home
Instead of rushing in the door the second you arrive home, take a few minutes to really relax and focus on your thoughts.
"When you pull into the driveway after work, take a few minutes of solitude in your car to meditate," says Tandon. "When any practice is given a regular appointment time, they’re a lot easier to keep."