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How to Benefit from Meditation when You're too Busy to Stop


image by KatieKrueger


Research shows that just 10-20 minutes a day spent relaxing or meditating can have a profound effect on your mental health, but most mothers I know think quiet time is a trip to the bathroom without someone hammering on the door to ask them for something. 

Here are a couple of ways to create contemplation time during your busy day:

Guided Meditation on the Go

The internet is full of short and sweet breathing exercises, or guided meditations, that you can download to your iPhone or mp3 player.

Once you have a collection of audio support you can convert waiting time to relaxation time. I’ve listened to guided relaxation audio on buses and trains, while waiting at school pickup time, and in doctors waiting rooms, and I’ve found that it consistently helps lower my stress and lift my mood.

Instead of going to bed tired yet wired, you could keep an iPod by your bed and use a guided relaxation to help you sink into a peaceful sleep. If you sometimes wake up in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep you can reach for your iPod and listen again.

Bring Mindfulness to Your To Do List

This is something we’ve discussed a lot on the Anxiety Slayer podcasts, and we get regular emails from listeners telling us it has helped them.

There is a common misconception about meditation that you have to sit in silence for long periods of time to benefit. That is one way to meditate, but there are others that fit more neatly into a busy day.

The key is to become more aware of everything that you do.


You probably have to walk somewhere every day - you can convert it to mindful walking:

Practice noticing your feet connecting with the ground when you walk, drop your shoulders and soften your gaze, let your breath slow and deepen and bring your attention to this moment. Step by step, breath by breath.


You probably have to wait for something everyday - you can convert queue time to quiet time:

Many people find waiting stressful because they feel they should be doing other things. Instead of finding wait time frustrating, you could convert it to “while I’m here I may as well be relaxing time.” It doesn’t make waiting take any longer, it just changes the experience from a stressful one to a peaceful one.


An Invisible, Use Anywhere, Breathing Relaxation

Breath deeply into your stomach and release your out-going breath slowly and completely. Count five breaths and notice how your incoming breath sounds and feels different to your out-going breath.

Try it while at a red traffic light, in a queue at the bank, when your call to your insurance company is on hold, while your child is reading to you, while waiting for the kettle to boil, at the post office.

Try bringing mindfulness to your daily tasks, cooking dinner, taking a shower, brushing your teeth, driving your car. Whenever you can notice your breath, notice your body, and bring everything back to the present moment.


How will you upgrade your day to include time for contemplation?

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Reader Comments (1)

I like how you give suggestions to fit in meditation when we can't do it formally. People tend to think they have to be perfect in how they do something, but really intent and some mindfulness go a really long way. Thanks for the tips.

Jun 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Cohen

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