Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds. Shine!Henry David Thoreau
If you have never tried guided meditation you may feel curious, doubtful, or figure frankly, you just don’t have the time for that. And that’s okay. These are all common thoughts among first-timers who haven’t dipped their toe in the proverbial calm water. Do you have two minutes for yourself? Your mental and physical health are worth it. You, friend, are worth it. The benefits abound for those who will ‘namaste’ with me and give it a try.
No qualifications or experience is required, but I think you’ll be surprised how only one to two minutes of guided meditation from an app on your phone can enhance your focus and calm, while decelerating your thoughts and blood pressure. This can be especially helpful in the workplace—whether that’s an office, a fire station, or the kitchen table these days.
Once your work day gets started, it can quickly gain momentum like a race car speeding through the city streets: pedal to the metal, sudden braking, weaving in and out of people and projects and phone calls. Days like that can leave even the best of us feeling frazzled and ready for a cocktail to take the edge off. I’m not here to knock Happy Hour! But what if you could ease into it, instead of crashing hard. It requires adding a few speedbumps into your days and weeks.
Use Meditation Apps.
One of the easiest ways to create speed bumps is with a one to two minute meditation as needed throughout your day. There are many free apps which are super-easy to use. Two favorites are Headspace and Insight Timer. The latter offers hundreds of free meditations, and you can choose the length, the topic, and/or the narrator. Even the YouTube channel, Daily Calm, has peaceful mindfulness exercises. What can you expect? Instant relaxation. It sounds crazy, though you can literally feel your shoulders drop, your face soften, and your breathing slow that quickly.
People respond to stress, or even busy-ness, in a variety of ways. Your body may be doing some of these things with or without your awareness. Physical stress responses include: clinching your jaw, clicking your teeth, shallow breathing, and holding your breath. Physiological responses are also likely, elevated blood pressure, tension headaches, and weight gain in the midsection. Even one to two minutes of meditation can immediately affect all of these symptoms, and over time with the advice and guidance of your doctor can even lead to a reduction or omission of anxiety and blood pressure medications. So, what do you have to lose? Tension, anxiety, that racing feeling….
Take time for yourself.
So what do you do? Create a few undisturbed minutes for yourself. I try and start the day with the meditation as soon as I wake up, and before my mind gets too cluttered with the pending tasks of the day. Whether you shut your office door, find time alone in your car—or for the working-at-home, sneak off to your bedroom or bathroom to escape the dogs, teenagers, and toddlers—it only takes 60-90 seconds to feel the results. Literally.
Select and start a one to two minute guided meditation. You are usually asked to sit comfortably and close your eyes. After that, you just listen to the guide give you simple instructions for breathing and visualization. There’s nothing strange or mystical about it. Honestly, it’s placing trust in our physical body to rest and repair itself. We often underestimate the power of our minds and bodies to heal and nurture themselves. But they are designed to naturally. Meditation is simply giving our mind and body space to do what it already knows to do.
In the beginning, you may have to set an alarm on your phone to help you remember to meditate. If it’s not already part of your routine, or if your day easily gets away from you, you’ll likely forget to pause for yourself. But you truly deserve those minutes. Over time, I suspect you will begin to notice your mind and body cues that make you aware of tension or overwhelm, and you will want to stop yourself and create space for peace, re-centering, and natural healing.
I’d love to hear about your experiences or learn about other resources that work for you! Leave me a message in the comments.
Now, drop and give me zen.
And, friend, namaste. (my spirit greets your spirit)