More and more people are getting in on the myriad of benefits gained from integrating a regular meditation practice into their routines. Studies have shown that meditating regularly improves sleep, enhances brain function, and reduces anxiety.1 2 3 A lot of people are interested in the benefits of meditation, but hesitate to put it into action because they do not think that they have enough time to dedicate to it. There are many different forms of meditation, including techniques that can be done in just a few minutes, while taking a walk or completing a household chore. 4 Even people with very busy schedules can integrate a daily meditation practice into their routines. Follow these simple tips to integrate meditation into your busy schedule.
Try a Walking Meditation
If you feel like your schedule is too packed to set aside a designated amount of time every day to meditate, try combining your meditation practice with walking. Whether you are going on a brief walk to get some fresh air or walking to the grocery store, use that time to practice mindfulness and get in touch with your breath. You can try a slow walking meditation where each step is synced up with a breath in or out, or take two or three steps per breath if you prefer a quicker pace. Walking meditation is a beneficial mind-body exercise that can decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression and help improve overall wellbeing. 5
Instead of Checking Social Media, Take a Mindfulness Minute
At least once every day when you have the urge to open up Instagram or Twitter, instead use that time to practice mindfulness. Sit quietly, close your eyes if possible, and focus on breathing deeply for about a minute (put on a timer if that helps you). Pay attention to the physical sensations in your body, such as how your breath feels going in and out and what parts of your body expand and contract.
Do a Meditative Body Scan as You Fall Asleep
You can use the minutes before you fall asleep to fit a daily meditative practice into your schedule, and it can improve your quality of sleep, too. 6 Try using this body scan technique as you lie in bed at night: lie in a comfortable position and slowly scan your body, beginning at the top of your head and working your way down to your toes, softening your muscles as you make your way down and paying attention to any sensations. Notice if you are clenching any muscles and relax them. Try to go as slowly as you can. This will relax your body and mind, and you may find that you fall asleep easier as well.
Take Advantage of Transitional Moments
Taking a few minutes during the transitional parts of your day to regroup and meditate is an effective way to fit meditation practice into your day. Transitional moments are when you shift from one phase of your day to another. For example, finishing your work day and shifting into your personal time or shifting from your evening activities to your pre-bedtime routine. When it is time to switch from one of these phases, set aside a few minutes to sit with your eyes closed, breathe deeply, and allow yourself to observe your own thoughts and feelings.
Mindfulness meditation is one of many practices that integrative health professionals often recommend to boost mood and manage stress. If you are interested in the integrative health field and are considering training to become a naturopathic doctor, get more information here.