‘Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you’. Annie Lamott
Science shows the positive affect meditation has on our physical, mental and emotional health and so many of us are looking for an antidote to the stressful demands on our lives. We know that meditation will be ‘good’ for us but our days are already bursting at the seams. I often hear people say that they would like to meditate regularly but they just simply don’t have time. I believe that any meditation practice is better than none, so I often recommend beginning with as little as 5 minutes a day.
5 minutes of meditation can be integrated into your day so easily. You get to work 5 minutes early – you sit in the car and meditate. You set your alarm 5 minutes earlier – you sit or lay in bed and meditate. You take the dog for a walk – you sit and meditate somewhere along the way. You may choose to make it part of your daily rhthym, meditating at the same time every day. Or just simply set the intention that you will do 5 minutes every day, squeezing it in when you can. If by the end of the day you haven’t yet meditated, quickly take five minutes to do so before you settle in for sleep.
In our busy lives there is a lot of value placed on being busy and productive, many of us have learnt to believe that stopping to meditate or even rest is lazy or a waste of time. The logic, egoic mind loves to be busy so will often think of a hundred things that need to be done over meditation. It can take a great deal of discipline to convince yourself to actually sit still and do nothing. Let’s not even talk about the challenges that arise when you actually do manage to sit still (we will go there another day). We don’t all have the time and discipline to sit for extended periods of time each and every day. If you are a beginner then this is even more difficult because it takes practice to get the hang of slowing the mind down.
The most affective way of building a regular and consistent meditation practice is to start small. Behavior experts will tell you that if you want to establish a new habit that lasts it helps to begin in small increments, making it achievable and something you can build on. If we are told that our meditation practice should consist of 20 minutes every morning and evening, many of us wont even begin. We have our work, a fitness regime, meal prep, kids to run after, friends and loved ones and other passions and interests that also need our time.
If you are wanting to establish a regular and consistent meditation practice that you can stick to, my advice is always start with 5 minutes a day. It most definitely isn’t pointless, studies have shown that doing short regular meditations are better than one long session every now and then. In fact many people that begin with 5 minutes each day often begin to notice improvement to their sense of wellbeing and this motivates them to not only continue but to lengthen their sessions too.
It doesn’t need to be perfect, you may have kids playing loudly around you, be on a train, in the bathroom, on the bed, in the car park, at the beach or the park. The important thing is that you carve 5 minutes out of your day for yourself. To stop and take a break. As Annie Lamott says ‘Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you’. This small amount of time can have a huge impact on your life. It creates a pause and this pause is the difference between you operating with a mind that is full to one that is mindful.
I’m not here to say that this five minutes is always going to feel blissful and calm. You need to have some techniques and tools to help you settle in and a realistic expectation of how calm the mind can become in only 5 minutes. The longer we sit the deeper we can sink into calm. To help you get started I have created this little 5 minute meditation. Once you have done it a few times you can try setting a timer and going it alone.
Did you give this practice a go? I would love to hear your feedback and if you have any questions please post them below or feel free to send me an email.
If you are looking to further explore meditation check out my events page here, I also offer one-on-one sessions where I can work with you to build a toolkit of meditation techniques that suit your needs and lifestyle.