Adopting a daily meditative practice has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, balance emotions, increase memory, and promote longevity. A modern fast paced society can present numerous stresses and challenges daily. Even though meditation can play an important key role in maintaining a stable balance and preventing burnout, time is often limited. There are literally over one thousand types of meditation and multiple ways to adequately perform each. This can make the task of finding time appear even more daunting to some.
Securing a Daily Space
No stranger to the stresses of the modern professional climate, I’ve often struggled with this myself. Securing a daily space for your meditations can be a challenge, especially in an office environment. The trick is to find a time and place that you can commit to daily.
Whether you choose to sit quietly at your desk with headphones on or you choose to escape to your car for quiet time, setting a time and place is important. Not only will a proper time and place provide your practice with structure but it will also provide you with a goal to achieve each day. It will give you something to look forward to. This will be your quiet time that you dedicate to working on yourself.
10 Minutes of Mindful Presence
Can you secure just 10 minutes of time for yourself throughout the day? Although longer, deeper meditative sessions can produce great results it is possible to achieve success with shorter 10 minute segments as well. During this time, effort should be placed on breathing with eyes closed. Breathe in for a count of three, and exhale for a count of three. Many find that within a few minutes of mindful breathing (placing your focus on breathing) the mind tends to break away from stressful thoughts or anxieties.
While breathing, try to breathe into your stomach region as opposed to your chest region. You should see your belly rise and fall with your breaths as opposed to your chest. If you see your chest rise and fall with each breath, place your focus on belly breathing. This is a more relaxed and natural method of breathing that is absent for many. Most people breathe with their upper chest or “puff out” their chest while they suck in their stomachs. This prevents the body from fully utilizing the breath and is reducing efficient oxygen flow.
Another critical part of the ten minute meditation process is to be present in the current moment. Thoughts will come. When they do, simply acknowledge their presence and allow them to pass. Do not try to hard to remove your mind of any thoughts. Doing so will prove to be counterproductive to the process and you may find yourself becoming discouraged or stressed that your mind will not “shut down”.
Simply be present in the moment. Notice your surroundings and then let them fade away. Should a distraction present itself, notice it but let it pass as well. This will train your mind to become more focused on the task of relaxation and allow you to continue your focus on breathing. After only ten minutes of this shortened form of mindful meditation it is possible to rest your mind and allow you to feel more energized once you return to your tasks for the day.
Maintain Proper Posture
Your posture for meditation should be relaxed and proper, but not rigid. Take care to ensure that your spine is as straight as possible and that your shoulders are in an upright position. Imagine your head is attached to a string and that it is held straight and forward in a relaxed fashion. You can also touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Placing your body in this fashion allows your natural energy channels to flow efficiently and allows your lungs proper breathing space.
Think about your posture in terms of your mood. There is a physiological link between the position of your body and your mood. Think of when you are in a depressed or upset state. Are your shoulders upright and relaxed or are they hunched over and slack? Does your head sit high or do you hang your head down a bit? Some find that simply by adjusting their body posture their move will improve. Mixing proper posture with proper breathing will ensure that your shortened meditations are as successful as possible.
Walking or Standing Meditations
A simple trip to the drink machine can be turned into a meditative experience. Walking meditations are another popular practice among many cultures and can be incorporated into your daily schedule. Instead of sitting in the break room, try to go on a short meditative walk.
During your walk, practice the same posture as described above and retain focus on your breathing. You can even try to match your breathing to your steps. With each step, breathe, and be mindful of your entire body. Feel your feet moving across the ground. Bring your focus as much as possible into your inner space.
Find a Practice Right for You
The most important part of meditating as busy professional is to find a time, place, and form of practice that is right for you and your surroundings. Different body types, mental characteristics, and moods will require different types of practice to see optimum benefit.
Do not be afraid to experiment. You cannot fail at meditation. In essence, the only true failure in meditation is the inaction involved in never giving it a try. In today’s busy and stressful world, why would you not want to try something that could give you more energy, focus, relaxation, and rest throughout the day?