Kelly Stoinski, Wellness Coach and Patient Experience Navigator at Strata Integrated Wellness at Spa at Garden of the Gods Resort & Club in Colorado Spings, CO shares her five mediation tips for busy people:
- “Mindful Minute”—set a timer for 60 seconds and count how many deep, slow rounds of breath you do in that minute. Remember that number. Whenever you are feeling stressed or scattered or tired, know you can take a “mindful minute” by just pausing and cycling through that number of rounds of breath.
- Set a reminder for your mindful minute or mid-day meditation—set a reminder on your phone for whatever time makes sense to you, and then after finishing the task you’re on (or within the next 15-20 minutes), pause and commit to doing your mindful minute OR set a timer for a short mid-day meditation (3 to 5 minutes).
- Create a 3 to 5 minute meditation routine—we all too often think that we need to meditate for 20 minutes to an hour for it to be worth it, but we can shift our physiology and mind into a more relaxed and mindful state in just 3 minutes of meditation a day. Set a timer for 3 to 5 minutes. Do the style of meditation or breathwork that feels good to you, and enjoy the experience knowing that you are doing a lot for yourself even in that short amount of time. Also remember, some meditation or moments of quiet, are better than no meditation.
- Use breath or mantra to guide your meditation—instead of trying to quiet your mind and sit still without thoughts (which to many of us busy, multi-tasking individuals is near impossible and quite frustrating), try repeating a simple mantra or positive phrase to help focus the mind, follow your slow breath in and out, or add counting to your inhales and exhales (for example, breathe in for a count of 4, retain breath for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 4, hold out for a count of 4, repeat).
- Let it be easy and comfortable—if you are straining and forcing the mediation—or if meditating is more of a burden and stressor than it is helpful, then the meditation isn’t serving you in the best way. Change it up and simplify it. Try mediating by counting breaths or listening to a short guided mediation or shorten the meditation to just a couple minutes or play around with different tips and techniques until you find more ease and comfort in the meditation. Do what feels the most supportive to your unique needs and lifestyle. Meditation should be a reprieve, not an obligation.
And a few other words of advice good for everyone and everyone interested in meditation:
- Breath awareness—simple pay attention to how the breath feels.
- Four-count breath—Count to four as you breath in. Count to four and you hold the breath. Count to four as you breath out. This is great for focusing the mind and shifting the physiology into a more relaxed state (parasympathetic system/rest and digest system).
- Alternating Nostril Breathing—breath in through one nostril while blocking the other with your thumb or forefinger, then breathing out with the other nostril while blocking the other. This is great for clearing/strengthening the structures of the nasal cavity; focuses the mind; connects/coordinates the two hemispheres of the brain (so great if feeling scattered or too logical or too emotional).
- Soh-ham mediation—it means “I am-That” or “I am all that is”. Repeat “Soh” on the inhale, “ham” on the exhale. This is a great contemplative meditation for connecting one deeper to ourselves and to all of creation. Also, using the mantra can be helpful for focusing the mind—if the mind wanders (which it probably will), there is no judgment and it’s a great opportunity to let the thoughts surface and simply bring the awareness back to the mantra once you’ve realized the mind has wandered. Thought and distraction in the mind are small stressors—as you let them surface and let them go, you are releasing small stresses in the body. As you sustain the mantra longer and longer, you are settling your body and mind into a deeper and more transcendent state.
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