Cell phones. Car alarms. Noisy neighbors. TVs and radios blaring. Dogs barking. Kids screaming. Fire alarms when all you want to do is boil water.
No matter what your kryptonite is, I think all of us suffer from a world of excess noise and distraction. If you’re anything like me, you probably bombarded with cacophony from the minute you wake up till the moment your head hits the pillow.
Is it possible to hit the restart button and refocus your thoughts? How do you find your calm in the middle of a busy, loud day? Is it even worth taking a couple minutes to shut your brain up?
In a word…yes.
Now, I’m not going to lie: I came to hate the words meditation and silence when I was in training to be a nun. I had to go through several silent 48-hour retreats. We weren’t permitted to say a single word and were supposed to be in prayer and silence. I’ll be the first to admit I failed miserably. All I did was sleep a ton and sneak in books in order to have something to do. Because in my 20-something-year-old mind, I demanded stimulation and I didn’t want to take time away to pray.
And honestly, structured prayer isn’t my jam. But as I’ve gotten older, I see the wisdom and power of meditating. It has been proven to reduce stress, improve concentration, as well as increase happiness and self-awareness.
So how can you snatch a few minutes to calm your brain down and re-center yourself? I have to admit, as single women, we actually get more silence built into our day than wives and mothers. So why don’t we take advantage of it?
Below are a few quick ideas you can try today. Try doing any one of these for two or three minutes every day. It doesn’t require any fancy equipment. All you need is the intention of wanting to meditate.
In the Morning
- Hold a hot cup of coffee or tea in your hands. Savoring the aroma, breathe deeply and focus on what you are grateful for in the day to come.
- Practice three yoga sun salutations. There are many YouTube videos to get your started.
- Sit comfortably in a chair. Concentrate on your breath. Each time you inhale, focus on a mantra or an intention you have for yourself. Suggestions for a mantra could be love, peace, joy, serenity, or a similar notion.
In the Middle of the Day
This will require you to disappear for a few minutes. If you can’t shut people out in your office or cubicle, go to your car, bathroom, break room, or even a storage closet if you won’t come across as a total weirdo.
- Sit comfortably and focus on one good thing that has happened so far today. Replay it in your mind and thank the universe for it.
- Close your eyes. Concentrate on your heartbeat and your breath. Be really present in the moment and think about how strong your body is, how alive you are, and how amazing it is to simply be today.
- Lie down in corpse pose (arms away from body, hands up, feet shoulder-width apart). Breathing slowly, focus on your one-word mantra. Reflect on how it played a role in your life today.
- Look up a quote on a site like dailyzen.com or http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/buddhism/daily-buddhist-quote.aspx. Sit in your favorite chair. Soak in that quote and let it flow over you.
What do you do to hit the “restart” button in your mind during a busy day? Comment below!