Deadlines looming, Priorities shifting, Balancing family life and work. Do you ever feel like you’re always on the go, and there’s never enough time in the day to get everything done? If so, you’re not alone. A lot of people feel that way nowadays. And while it’s important to stay productive, it’s also essential to take a break every now and then. I also understand that meditation is one of those things that you know you should probably be doing, but just don’t have the time for. So I’ve come up with three ways to fit in some meditation, even when your schedule is packed: The Pause.
The pause is a simple mindfulness exercise that can be done anytime, anywhere. It only takes a few seconds and can be done without anyone knowing what you’re up to. All you need is yourself and a couple of minutes of peace and quiet. Simple acts can remind you to do this and they don’t require you to make a big deal about it or for it to take time out of your day that you don’t have. Read on to learn about the science behind the actions.
Close your eyes
Again a simple act. Simply close your eyes and count to ten. This too, is simple biology. While your eyes are open, the rods and cones are working on the intake of light and color and transmitting it all to your brain as it turns the image from upside down to right-side up. Sight is an amazing act that again is happening without any consciousness on our part. So, when you close your eyes, you are giving all of that a rest. When you open your eyes, you literally have a new perspective. It is an instant reset.
Yes, this is something we all are doing unconsciously, however, bringing this act into your consciousness is a way to practice awareness. Do you ever find yourself shallow breathing? Like you’re taking sips of air… just enough to keep going? This unconscious act can leave you feeling depleted. It is a biological fact that intake of more oxygen into your lungs activates all of your systems and creates a synergistic effect. Your respiratory system and circulatory system are directly connected. So, the more oxygen you intake, the more blood is pumped through your arteries and into your brain. Focus is restored and calm comes over your nervous system.
Stare off into space
“Daydream” if you will. Pick an object or thing and look at it for again, a count of ten. You can blink, or not. The biological effect here is similar to the closed eyes. By focusing on one spot, the signals that are going from your eyes to your brain are slowed down to take in the details of one thing. Your focus is heightened. Then when you shift out of it, again, perspective is changed.
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As you begin your journey with pause, you may notice some pendulum swings. It may take patience with yourself. Stay the course, it will become easier as you continue to use these small acts as responses to stress or negative emotions. By continuing to practice pausing before responding, you are habit stacking, connecting your actions to emotions. Whether you are ruminating on ideas, thoughts or emotions or completely scattered. These simple mindful acts can be the solution. Another benefit is that you are cultivating patience which can have a positive effect on every part of your life.
It’s important to take a break every now and then. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, consider giving yourself time for mindfulness. Practice the pause in your own life for better productivity, creativity, and peace of mind. This meditation-based practice is scientifically proven to reduce stress levels and increase focus as well as empathy towards others. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere at any time by focusing on your breathing or observing what’s happening around you without judgment. You don’t need any special equipment either! All you have to do is close your eyes and try it out for just two to five minutes today (or whenever). Let me know how mindful practices work in the comments below—I’d love to hear from anyone who has tried it before!