How To Meditate When You’re Busy
Meditation is awesome, but making time for it can be tricky. So figuring out how to meditate when you’re busy is worth doing so you can overcome the obstacle of needing to block out time.
I’m still pretty new to meditation. It’s only something that I’ve been practising regularly for a few months, but mentally it’s made a hell of a lot of difference for me.
I’m not an expert, but I’m going to talk you through why I started doing it, how I do it, what I’ve tried before, a couple of options and what the benefits are.
Why I Meditate
There are a few reasons why I meditate. They all overlap with each other and ultimately it comes down to just finding some stillness, some calmness to process my thoughts, and to clear my mind.
One specific one for me has been that it helps to lower stress.
Another one has been that it’s helped me improve my focus, especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
My mind runs at a million miles an hour. So slowing my thoughts down and reducing that noise between my ears.
It also helps me get my muscles to relax.
When you’re sitting there stressed and tense, you can shrug your shoulders, feel that pain in your neck and your sides and wherever else. So meditation allows you to connect with that, understand where you’re feeling that pain and start to loosen up those muscles.
Tying in all those, I find that it recharges me.
I can be super stressed and feel really tired going into meditation. I only do five-minute blocks, but then I can do five minutes, slow myself down, and then when I wake up, I’m literally a brand new person.
So when you get it right, meditation for me at least has made a big difference.
Meditation Is Becoming More Popular
Meditation, not that long ago, was just seen as a “hippy-dippy woo woo” kind of thing where you light incense and chant.
It’s nothing like that. Or it doesn’t have to be anything like that unless you want it to be like that.
I guess with mental health and mental wellbeing and stress and anxiety becoming more and more prominent topics in the media, meditation has come along with that.
You’ve got apps that have grown in popularity massively like Headspace and Calm.
And even on YouTube.
There are literally millions of meditation music tracks and relaxation music tracks.
I guess that’s one of the good things about meditation.
You can meditate for different reasons, have different purposes or different focuses and find a different way of doing it. Yet it can still have the exact same benefits. It’s just that you tailor your approach to what works for you.
My Approach To Meditation
So my approach to meditation, I stumbled into, by accident.
I can’t remember why, but I was sitting on the floor one day. And I was watching something and I was tired and my back was a little bit stiff, so I just lay down flat.
And then I guess I fell asleep. I don’t know how long passed. And I got up it was one of those experiences where you just got up and thought “that felt good! I don’t know what that was, but that felt good.”
And then when I was speaking to someone, they said that I found a way to “accidentally” meditate, and got so relaxed that I ended up falling asleep.
I thought “Oooh! This is good. I need more of this in my life.”
And then I just started looking into it a little bit more.
I started with guided meditation and that never worked because I wanted the person speaking to just shut up.
Then I tried the music tracks from YouTube and that’s what stuck for me.
So I figured out my meditation position, I figured out my meditation ambience or atmosphere, whatever you want to call it.
The third step was to figure out how to channel my thoughts.
As I said, my mind runs at a million miles an hour, so I needed to find a way to give my overexcited brain, one thing to focus on so it could calm down and find that stillness, which meditation is all about.
I tried loosening up my muscles. I tried focusing on different muscles.
One of the things they say in yoga is to breathe into specific muscle groups. I tried that.
What worked for me was just focusing on counting my breath. So when I meditate, I do slow deep breaths. So that’s a four-count inhale, four-count hold, four-count exhale, four-count hold.
I think that’s also called box breathing.
And then my mind is busy counting my breath, my breath is busy trying to sync up with my mind. I’ve got the music playing in the background. And that is me done.
That’s what works for me.
I do it once every morning when I get up.
I get out of bed just to open up YouTube on my iPad, find a track, and lie down on the floor for five minutes, my eyes closed again. Up to now, I haven’t fallen asleep during that, but it might happen one day.
And then the evening is the opposite.
I’ll lie down on the floor, meditate and get up and then go to lie down in bed.
How Else Can You Meditate If You’re Busy?
One option is of course guided meditation, which does work for a lot of people as well. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be as prominent as it is.
Guided meditation is the same as what I do, except you’ve got a voice over whatever you’re listening to, that’s talking you through it and basically guiding it. Unsurprisingly, that’s what it says in the name – guiding your thoughts.
And for most beginners, that may be a good starting point, because that’s going to help you channel your thoughts and your focus and find that calm.
It didn’t work for me because I just wanted the person or people – because I did several attempts – to just shut up.
Another option is active meditation where you might do something that you get away from everything that you’re doing and you find a way to clear your head.
I would count going for a long walk or going for a hike or something like that as a form of long meditation.
I was doing this a lot during lockdown over the summer when gyms were closed.
I was going walking for an hour and a half or two hours every single day. And in that time, I was listening to a podcast or an audiobook. Something that was fun, something that was going to lighten my mood and something that’s going to take my thoughts away from work and home life and, all that stress and responsibility.
So it wasn’t meditation in the traditional sense, but it had the same impact on me. And for someone that is active and busy and does need that escape, it’s another, perfectly good option.
And of course, if you are into incense and chanting and all that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
You do you.
If that’s what you enjoy and you feel it that’s going to help you relax just to get in touch with that spiritual side then of course go for it.