No Time to Meditate? Try Single-Moment Mindfulness
We know meditation is important. There are both mental and physical health benefits. Meditation helps us focus in an unfocused world. We learn to pay attention to those around us. We become better listeners. We slow our heart rates. We give ourselves a mental tooth-brushing.
Meditation is an important daily practice for all humans.
It doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not — whether or not you believe in one deity or many. Meditation isn’t a religious practice at all. You sit. You do your best to ignore your thoughts. You focus on one thing.
This is all fine and good, but I don’t have time to meditate. I can barely comb my hair!
I get it. We read all these stories about meditation twice a day for twenty minutes, or the famous Buddhist quote (paraphrased) “If you can’t find time to meditate for twenty minutes, you should meditate for two hours.”
What if you could enjoy the benefits of meditation without taking time from your day?
You can and I’ll show you. I’ve been practicing single-moment meditation for ten years. Most days I do meditate for twenty minutes in the morning, but not all days. It was only recently that I started longer sessions. You can do this too. You don’t have to look at meditation as an all-or-nothing prospect.
This is a deliberately short story. You don’t have a lot of time to meditate, so why would you have a long time to learn about it. I wrote a piece about proper breathing if you’d like to go deeper, but you can skip to the next session if you want to get started now.
How to practice single-moment mindfulness (SMM)
- Find a moment of peace. Whether you’re at a stop light, in line at the grocery store, standing in your kitchen, or walking alone. SMM is practiced alone. You’ll need a block of 5–10 seconds all to yourself — not too much to ask. If you don’t have that your problems are bigger than meditation.
- Inhale slowly through your nose. Close your mouth. If you take a correct breath you’ll feel goosebumps throughout your body. It’s refreshing. This is your body getting a happy rush of oxygen.
- Breathe with your diaphragm, not your chest. Your belly should expand and your chest will remain steady.
- Focus on your breath. I like to hard-focus on my belly. You can focus on a spot on the wall.
- If a thought enters your mind, say ‘hello thought’ to your self and re-focus on your breath. Do not react to your thoughts. You can’t keep yourself from thinking, but you can re-direct back to the breath.
- Exhale through the mouth or nose. Feel your belly shrink.
- Repeat the cycle two more times. Now your done. You can practice SMM any time you need to relax, think, or take a moment for yourself. Instead of worrying about large blocks of time for full meditation.
You can practice SMM dozens of times per day. I aim for 50–100. You can start with one. Take it easy on yourself. SMM is both a reward and a benefit for self-care.
This portable meditation will help you during tough situations where you should pause before acting. SMM will also help train you to breathe correctly, giving you the tools to sit for longer meditation sessions later.
Even if you don’t want to take the time for long meditation sessions, you can still get many of the benefits with SMM. Nothing replaces long sessions completely, but SMM is much better than doing nothing. Try it now before you leave this story.
It’s time to inhale.