Meditation and mindfulness should not be kept as sacred acts only to be enjoyed in a regimented time slot of devotion. Instead it should be a dynamic part of your life that you can enjoy and benefit from throughout your day. Think of these practices as ways to reduce your stress, expand your awareness, and bring harmony at any point in your day. They can also help you slow down your world, giving you the time you need to make the kind of choices that will guide your life in the right direction.
You have 1,440 minutes in every day. Set a few of them aside in the morning to start your day right, in the middle of the day to reset your energy, and in the evening to relax and to slow down the world. Take the time to guide your life, than empower the world around you to guide it for you.
I have put together a list of some ways in which you can practice meditation and mindfulness throughout your day. Give just one or two a try today. See how it affects your life. See what kind of
ripples of peace and joy you can send out and what they return to you.
- Waking Breath: Before you get out of bed in the morning, stop and take a few minutes to notice your breathing. Put one hand on your stomach and another on your chest. Take a few deep belly breaths so that only the hand on your stomach moves, and smile as you exhale. Don’t just jump into your day, enjoy the moment between sleep and wakefulness. Give yourself the two minutes you deserve to balance your morning, steady your thoughts and guide your day in the right direction.
- Morning Calm: Speak to the people you share your home with, to let them know you need a quiet start to the day. It doesn’t need to be an atmosphere of stolid silence, just peaceful calm. Take the opportunity to think of one thought that you can carry with you throughout your day. It can be anything you want; peace, smile, light, waves, bright eyes, love. These are all thoughts you can call upon if your day starts to spiral out of control. They will help you ground yourself and return to the calm of your morning.
- Mindful Commute: When you leave your home for work, maintain a slow and steady breath. Take the time to notice the world around you. Appreciate the sunlight, the clouds, and the rain. Notice the road, the cars, and the pavement of your world, as well as the trees. As your minds starts to fill with the tasks of your day, focus on the mode of your commute, the people walking next to you, the cars driving, the train or subway you ride on. Don’t start an inner dialogue by commenting on them. Just be present and aware of the community of people that you are a part of and enjoy that connection.
- Mindful Lunch: Take the time to have lunch by yourself at least once a week. Eat silently and breathe slowly with each bite. Take a moment to consider all of the people who are involved in farming, growing, delivering and preparing the food on your plate. Think about where it comes from and how it is grown. Sun gives the plants nutrition, water gives it sustenance, farmers tend the crops, families tend to those farmers, truckers bring the product to the market. On it goes in an endless cycle of community and life. Take a moment to feel connected to these people and the world around you. Recognize that you are part of a larger world beyond the doors of your business.
- 5 Minute Meditations: You have 1,440 minutes every day. Take just five of those minutes for yourself. Sit by yourself, place your feet flat on the floor and your hands on your thighs. Take a deep belly breath and feel it expand against your clothing. Slowly count to eight on each breath in and each breath out. Feel the calm start at the top of your head and move down to your shoulders. Feel it drift down to your belly with each breath. At each point of stress, take a moment to allow your inhale wrap around it, relax it, and follow that stress out with every exhale. Use your five minutes to breathe in positive, relaxing energy, and breath out negative stress. Energize yourself for the afternoon with balance.
End of Day
- Anticipate The Struggles of Tomorrow: We learn from our mistakes, we grow from adversity, we develop by seeing new paths. As you leave your work, take a quick inventory of the tasks you have ahead of you. Look at the obstacles before you as lessons. In doing so, think about what you learn from them and how you can apply that lesson to your own growth. Appreciate the experience you will gain from the process of your work and not just the impediments you have to overcome.
- Appreciate the Wind Down: As you prepare to go to bed, be in the moment and focus your thoughts on the tasks at hand. If you are brushing your teeth, feel the toothbrush against your gums, appreciate the movement of your wrists and hands, enjoy the image of your lips moving around the brush. If you are putting a child to bed, enjoy the feeling of tucking them in. Enjoy the form of their ears and nose as you balance your breath. As you feel yourself drift to sleep, relish the slow deeps breaths you are now taking and let go of your day.
- S-L-E-E-P Breathing: If you mind is filled with thoughts of the day and you are having trouble sleeping, take a slow, deep breath in and say to yourself, “S”. As you exhale slowly, say the letter “L”. Do this for each letter as you spell the word sleep. When you get to the end of the word, start your spelling breath again. You may be surprised when you wake up in the morning at how deeply you slept.