Meditation for Busy People

meditation for busy people

This is a long post on meditation for busy people. And, because most of us are too busy to read something this long in a single session, we have broken it down into bite-sized, digestible sections, containing many handy tips as follows.

We have emphasized the relief and management of stress and tension because this is often the main reason busy people seek refuge in meditation.

For easy navigation click on these links. And to get back here click on the “back to index” links at the end of each section.

How to reduce stress and tension – 3 Tips

It’s no secret. Busy people can get tense and stressed. So meditation for busy people needs to address that. Here are 3 quick tips to take that edge off.

3 Wrong ways to unwind

But first, here are the 3 wrong ways to relax and destress. They are all unhealthy and counterproductive.

1: Television: Obviously, some TV screen time is perfectly acceptable. But binge-watching TV just as a coping mechanism is a bad idea. It doesn’t change anything and it makes you drift into a sedentary lifestyle, which is bad for your health long-term.

how to reduce stress and tension
2: Unhealthy eating: Often, this goes along with the consumption of junk food and snacks while watching TV. It’s easy to fall into this because stress and tension cause the production of cortisol, which in turn stimulates the appetite. But the follow-on effects of overeating can include excessive weight, diabetic issues, and cardiac problems.
unhealthy eating

The flip side of this is that tension and stress can also put people off their food, and cause them to stop eating, which is just as bad as overeating.

3: Overindulgence in alcohol: There is nothing wrong with the occasional drink. A glass of wine or two can bring some joy into the world. But too much of it brings about alcohol dependency, which everyone knows is bad for you.

3 right ways to unwind

Here are 3 excellent and very effective ways of relieving stress and anxiety

1: Exercise

Exercise will not remove the source of stress but it will certainly relieve its symptoms and make you feel a whole lot better about everything. It will certainly reduce tension, as opposed to sublimating it with TV, food, or alcohol.

In fact, tension and stress can be a stimulus for your workout, which in turn can help you with clearer thinking. Any kind of exercise is good: a walk or jog, and a workout with light weights will work just fine.

meditation for busy people
2: Drinking water

It may come as a surprise that the act of drinking water can have a soothing effect. But try it. Water can relieve stress because it promotes brain function, boosts energy levels, and relieves headaches.

drinking water

Drink the water slowly and contemplate what you are doing. Take deep breaths between sips. This can even be a meditative act in itself, as you think of the place of the water you drink in your life and the life of all mankind over the centuries.

3: Meditation

The third beneficial stress reliever is meditation. And, of course, this is the overall subject of this post.

meditation

According to the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of meditation are many. And it is not just for the relief of stress and tension. For example, it has been found to help with the management of heart disease, insomnia, pain, and digestive issues. It will also induce a state of relaxation and help in the order and management of mind and thought. It can instill inner peace.

So now, having set the stage, let’s talk about what meditation is not. 

But first you might want to check out this video on achieving a Calm Mind

The myths of meditation – 5 Misconceptions

We have identified 5 common myths or misconceptions about meditation. With these dispelled, you will be able to practice meditation without concern, another thought, or even embarrassment. You will be able to enjoy its many very real benefits without reservation. Meditation for busy people means cutting to the chase.

1.   It takes too much time to meditate

Many people are reluctant to take up meditation because they think it will take up too much of their time. Or they wrongly believe that they won’t be able to fit it into their busy schedule.

Truth to tell, it does take some amount of time. After all, everything we do in life does. But as we shall see going forward, it does not have to take up a lot of time. In fact, you only need a little. But you do need to organize your schedule to accommodate it.

On the other hand, as you get more comfortable you will find you will be able to meditate impromptu and on the go, even while driving, for example.

2.   Meditation is somehow a religious act

The second myth or misconception is that meditation is exclusively a religious practice.

This actually is partly true. In fact, some religions do incorporate meditation and contemplation into their prayer rituals. But this is only as a means to enhance the meaning and intensity of their prayer. 

Other religions employ meditative yoga in their practice.

  • See our related post on yoga here.
religious meditation

If you are religious, great. In fact, you might study some of these examples. But for the non-religious, meditation is a way to find inner peace, reduce jangling mental clutter, and bring stillness to the mind.  In fact, there is a body of scientific study that supports the benefits of all meditation in doing this. See here for example.

So your own personal meditation is exactly what you make of it and what you want it to be. You do not need to be religious to meditate.

meditation at work

3.   Meditation requires a lot of personal discipline

It is simply not true that meditation is only for the strong of personal will, purpose, and discipline.

However, as with the previous myth, there is a little bit of truth to it. But only in the sense that meditation can help you in your quest for self-discipline. It is a type of self-discipline in and of itself. Because it helps you focus your mind and shut out the noise and distractions around you, it does help you achieve a measure of self-discipline.

You need a little self-discipline to get going with meditation. But initially, all you are doing is trying to focus the mind. And with a little practice at meditation, you will only get better. You just have to get started.

meditation and discipline

4.   Meditation is dull and boring

This myth is based on the idea that all there is to meditation is sitting around, silently doing nothing and trying to think of something to reflect on. It can certainly look like that to an observer, but that is really not what meditation is. Meditation is not a cookie-cutter concept. It comes in many forms.

In fact, some types of meditation can be absorbing, involving, and transforming. For example, some meditations involve chanting or mentally reciting mantras and reflecting on them. Some of these meditations involve sound and movement. They are certainly not boring

5.   You need to know how to meditate before you can meditate

Frankly speaking, this myth dispels itself. It’s simply a fact that people do meditate. So, obviously, they had to start somewhere. Besides, there is no one way in which you have to meditate. Meditating is just what you want it to be for yourself. If it feels right, then you are doing it right.

But, that said, we are here to give you some pointers. 

Aids to meditation – 5 Pointers

Getting into meditation is all about getting into the right frame of mind so that it stands the best chance of working for you. So here are some tips that should help you get there. 

The goal is to create a space in which to feel at home and comfortable meditating. You will then ease yourself into it without getting anxious or stressed out about it. After all, these are the feelings you are setting out to deal with.

Just know that starting out, meditating may seem hard at first, maybe even a little odd. But just anticipate a relaxing, positive, and rewarding experience, once you have had a little practice. And, as we mentioned earlier, everyone who meditates has to start somewhere.

So here are 5 pointers for starting out on your meditation journey.

Pointer #1

Create a small area in which you can feel relaxed and comfortable. Surround yourself with calming things. This might include scented candles, pillows, blankets, anything soothing to you. It might include a comfortable chair. Yes, a chair. You don’t have to meditate in some weird and contorted yoga pose that can only distract you unless you are used to it. 

So now that you have a gentle and welcoming space, you are ready to meditate.

comfortable meditation

Pointer #2

 Don’t worry about your breathing. It is true that part of meditation relates to a focus on breathing. But you don’t want to fret about it or analyze it. This can only sidetrack you, when you are trying to relax and let go. Think of something else, like the sound of your breath or the sound the flame of your candle is making.

candle meditation

Pointer #3

When you start out with meditation, you will likely feel uncomfortable. That is perfectly normal. This is partly due to the fact that our lives are so fast-paced and full of activity that it feels unnatural to sit down and embrace stillness. So just let go of these uncomfortable feelings and let them pass. Loosening up in meditation comes with time and practice as you get used to meditation.

meditation for busy people

Pointer #4

Try to keep to a schedule of meditation at the same time each day. Unless you live alone, ask your spouse or partner to remind you and not accept excuses if you fail at your meditation schedule. This can be a big help if you find yourself drifting away from it. If you do live alone, set up your Alexa virtual assistant to remind you.

But with a little practice and experience in this, you will find you no longer need reminders. This is because your time for meditation will become such an important part of your day, that you will miss it if you skip it.

Pointer #5

 Don’t try to evaluate or score your meditation sessions. There will be times when you feel great about them and others and others when you will get sidetracked or distracted, such that you quit early. Don’t obsess or guilt trip yourself about this

Meditation is about mindfulness and relaxation. So those negative thoughts do not help. Just focus on the benefits you are getting, even in small increments. MOve on and look forward to your next session.

Our main  point here is that meditation can seem awkward and difficult when you are getting into it. So just go in with a mindset that this is perfectly normal. But if you stick with it you will start to feel the benefits and you will become entirely comfortable with the experience.

So take it easy on yourself. Put try to put uncomfortable feelings aside and let your meditation bring calm and peacefulness to you. It will happen. It just takes practice.

How to Master Meditation – 4 Suggestions 

Meditation is actually a journey that does not end. There is no meditation destination.

meditation destination

However, the more you practice meditation, the better you will get at it and the more it will benefit you. The more you can improve your meditation practice, the more you will grow both as an individual and as a practitioner of the art of meditation.

So let’s look here at 4 ways in which you can master meditation for busy people.

1.   Concentrate on Your Breathing

Breathing is something that we do all the time and unconsciously. We all take it for granted and really don’t even think about it. 

meditation and breathing

But in meditation, focusing on our breathing is a way of securing the experience. We use this involuntary physical action of breathing to enhance the experience of meditation. This happens in these three related ways.

First, breathing benefits the body. It reduces stress, soothes pain, and energizes the lymphatic system that supports our immune system, It also helps reduce our blood pressure and supports the flow of oxygen through our bodies. In time, the act of meditation will improve our breathing.

Second, because breathing is happening in real time, focusing on the act helps us live in the present moment. It promotes present mindfulness rather than a dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

Third, a focus on breathing helps unite the mind and the body as one. Too often in the modern world, the experiences of mind and body get separated. This means that the mind and body can come into conflict and cause distress and disturbance within our being. So focusing the mind on our breathing helps bring the mind and body together in a calm whole.

2.   Switching up your practice of meditation 

It is a mistake to stick exclusively with one single meditation practice. Now,it is a good idea to stay with one practice as you are starting out in meditation and learning how it works. But staying in “beginner mode,” so to speak, will limit you going forward. You need to challenge yourself in order to grow in your practice of meditation. 

meditation beginner

As you go forward you should experiment with different types of meditation, such as guided meditation or group meditation. This is key to meditation growth.

3.   Take it easy on yourself

Don’t beat yourself up about your meditation practice. Too many people look at it as a tough type of self-discipline. This is a mistake. 

It is certainly true that meditation does require a certain amount of discipline. But in the same way as we discipline our children, this only comes out of love, kindness,  and compassion, and what is best for the child.

So treat yourself with kindness. This will overcome the barriers in your mind that excessive self discipline will put in place. You cannot master meditation without first knowing how to talk to yourself kindly and with compassion. Being harsh with yourself does not help.

4.   Bring meditation into other areas of your life

This is almost like making meditation a lifestyle. You can incorporate meditation into things that you do when you are not in your regular, scheduled meditation session. In other words, you can actually meditate, even when you are not doing so intentionally.This sounds a bit strange but it is very beneficial in the long run. 

meditation lifestyle

As you go through your day, take time to talk to yourself kindly. Try living in the moment. Think about and be conscious of your breathing. You can practice this while you are doing repetitive tasks, like driving or the laundry. These are things that we can do on autopilot and can allow us to meditate.

6 Common meditation mistakes 

The six mistakes we talk about here can be conscious or unconscious but they can all stop you from meditating or get in your way. Let’s check out six of them.

1.   Not holding yourself responsible

Obviously, the first mistake to make in meditation is not doing it at all. And there can only be one reason for this. You are not holding yourself accountable for doing it.

But if you are not holding yourself accountable, who do you blame? The question answers itself. Don’t let yourself slide. Don’t procrastinate and put your scheduled meditation session off until a tomorrow that never comes. Don’t allow frequent gaps in your meditation schedule.

meditation for busy people schedule

The only person who can keep you to your meditation schedule is you. So here’s a tip. Give yourself a reward each time you meditate. Perhaps this would be a sweet treat, or maybe a scented bath. But don’t insult and sabotage yourself by taking the reward but failing to meditate first.

2.   Expectations too high

Meditation is not a sudden cure-all for stress and anxiety. It is not a magic portal to an instantly sublime mental state. Meditation is not a sudden problem solver. So don’t set yourself up for disappointment after your first meditation. And don’t let any kind of disappointment pour cold water on your meditation efforts.

So adjust your expectations accordingly. Understand that proficiency at meditation to a point where you are really experiencing results takes time to achieve. And once your expectations are in line with reality, you will feel better about your efforts and more uplifted by your experience. 

3.   Following the wrong meditation practice 

There are all kinds of meditation practice and many different techniques to help you along the way. Some of these are very traditional and rooted in ancient religious tradition and thought. Others are much more relatable and reflect modern life. 

paths to meditation

There are many paths in the world of meditation. None of them are wrong. And some you will find easier to follow than others. The point is that you should not stop meditating just because you didn’t like the particular meditation you were practicing. Try exploring a different route.

4.   Over-reliance on guided meditations

Guided meditations are an excellent way to get started on your meditation journey. They are also good if you are very tired and not feeling up to a solo meditation. But if you only do guided meditation, you will soon get bored, hit a wall, and fail to progress.

So by all means do guided meditations as a beginner, but intersperse them with different meditations to expand your experience.

5.   Avoid spiritual bypassing

Spiritual bypassing happens when we use meditation as a diversion. It is when we use meditation as an excuse to avoid confronting uncomfortable situations that we should be dealing with separately. In other words, meditation becomes a mental prop or distraction. The feelings and problems we are avoiding won’t go away. They’ll come back.

spiritual bypassing

6.   Trying to control and direct your thoughts

Don’t try to put your thoughts in a mental straight jacket. It is perfectly natural for the mind to wander. When that happens, don’t “punish” your mind by being harsh with it and therefore negative with yourself.

wandering mind meditation

How to Meditate More – 8 Tips

You will find in this discussion of meditation for busy people 8 tips that will help you meditate more without having to rejigger your whole schedule. Let’s check them out

1.   Meditate in small periods

Rather than allocating a solid, say, hour per day to meditate, allot and commit to multiple periods of, say, 2 to 5 minutes each. Smaller intervals of meditation dispersed throughout the day will allow you to do more meditation and pursue the activities of your day without rescheduling it. It’s likely much easier to fit 12 meditation sessions of 5 minutes each into the day than it is a solid 60 minutes. 

2.   Incorporating meditation into the daily routine

Incorporating meditation into your daily routine is another way of fitting it in.  You just need to prioritize it. It’s the same with anything else you are tasked to do. If you don’t organize it into your routine, it won’t get done. A good way of doing this is to make meditation part of the morning or nighttime routine.

Mealtimes are another opportunity. Add 5 to 10 minutes or so of meditation to your mealtimes. This should be easy enough to do since we all have to eat anyway. 

Five minutes or so of meditation before the meal will relax the mind and slow it down. This in turn may prompt healthier food choices, prevent you from gulping your food, and even make you appreciate it more.  

Don’t meditate immediately after eating. This is when the energy of the body is focused on digestion and this makes meditation harder. 

3.   Multitasking your meditation

The third route to more meditation is multitasking. You can perform mini-meditations while you are taking care of your daily tasks, like cleaning or waiting in line for something. Meditating in this way during your daily routine will let you get in a surprising amount of meditation without interfering with your schedule.

meditation multitasking

4.   Take up yoga

Change up your workout routine by including yoga. Intersperse yoga with, say, your zumba classes. Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise that will test your body and your mind. Pretty much every type of yoga will incorporate meditation as part of its routine. So you can get your exercise and meditate at the same time.

yoga and meditation

5.   Shower to a guided meditation

Lots of people naturally think about and reflect on their lives in the shower. A shower is something you take without having to think about it much. So use it as one of the multitasking opportunities we discussed earlier and meditate. You can use the time to practice your breathing techniques. Or, rather than listen to music listen to a guided meditation.

6.   Meditate your way through TV commercials

This is a great way to fit in more meditation time. Like most people, you probably watch a lot of television. So how about exchanging screen time for meditation time. Rather than surf the web during commercial breaks, do some meditation. This is a lot more productive than watching commercials or web surfing. And you are already sitting comfortably 

7. Falling asleep to a guided meditation

Our next tip for meditating more is to fall asleep as you listen to a guided meditation. It takes most people several minutes to fall asleep. So use this time to listen to a guided meditation. And don’t worry that this is going to keep you awake. Many guided meditations are deliberately composed as aids to falling asleep. They encourage both meditation and sleep. 

Most people need a couple of minutes before they can fall asleep. Use those minutes to listen to a guided meditation. Though you may think that listening to a guided meditation will keep you awake, there are many that are intentionally designed for falling asleep, allowing you to meditate and then drop off to sleep quickly.

You can find many of these on YouTube, like this one:

8.   Treat anywhere you happen to be as your meditation space

The last of these 8 tips is to avoid the trap of believing that, in order to meditate, you have got to have a quiet, still room with the right kind of ambiance. While certainly this kind of room is going to make it easier for you to meditate, you can in fact meditate anywhere. 

And of course, as with anything, practice will always make things easier. But you can learn to find silence inside the noise. And you can make a meditation space out of the entire world.

8 ways busy people can meditate

We need to start with a review of what meditation is. This is because it really is a bit difficult to pin down. And this is because it has so many different facets and different techniques. 

There is no one way to meditate. But while this makes it hard to pin down with a definition, its breadth of meaning allows us to meditate in many different ways.

meditation for busy people

Meditative techniques can include focusing on a single thought, mindfulness, or conscious breathing. It is a method of training and directing our awareness and attention in such a way that we become emotionally stable and calm and mentatlly more clear.

But it does involve deliberate and conscious action. It is not the casual process of drifting off into some daydream. 

So, because it requires the control of physical and mental action, it can seem difficult to incorporate a practice of meditation into our busy lives.

But here are 8 meditative techniques that we can adopt.

1.   Being in the Moment

This is the best way to meditate on a busy schedule because you are making the schedule work for you. Being in the moment means that, as you take care of the task or chore at hand, you are focusing on the present, rather than the future or the past. 

Believe it or not, this can actually improve the performance of what you are doing. You are not distracting yourself with the imagined future or finished past.

But just know that being in the present takes purposeful practice.

being in the moment

2.   Take time to take a break and breath

The next way to meditate during a busy day is to incorporate deliberate, conscious, and intentional breathing into our daily activities. While we breathe our whole life, it is normally an automatic, unconscious process.

But try breathing with intention. For example, any time that you look out at a view, take in the scene, and then contemplate it with your eyes closed and intentionally take some deep breaths.

3.   If you have to wait, meditate

No matter how busy we are, there are times we have to wait. Maybe it’s waiting for an appointment. Or perhaps it is just waiting in line. 

Take the opportunity to meditate while you wait. It’s a great use of your time. This is a great thought to carry with you: “If you have to wait, meditate.”

wait and meditate

4.   Multi-task meditating

Rather than mindlessly doing a chore on autopilot, integrate a meditative technique into the action. As you do this, you will actually find the action of performing the task more fulfilling.  And this will allow you to include the actual task of meditation within your daily schedule as a multitask twofer.

meditation for busy people

5.   Incorporate Meditation into Your Daily Routine

You can also find time to meditate by including it within your daily schedule. Many adults have a morning routine, for example. Find open time in that routine, such as when you are pouring your coffee or watching the sunrise. Bringing meditation within and including it in your schedule will force you to meditate without it taking up any more time of your day.

6.   Meditating at mealtimes

We have to sit down and eat, even with a loaded schedule. So, a great way to meditate is at mealtimes, especially when eating alone. If you like, this practice can include a prayer thanking a higher power for the food. Or you can just eat the food slowly and consciously meditate on it and appreciate its flavor.

7.   Driving in silence

We spend so much time in our cars. So use the time to meditate. You can turn off the distraction of the radio and drive in silence. And as you sit in silence you can focus on the drive and control your mind as you do it.

meditating and driving

8.   Be grateful and keep a gratitude journal

As we meditate we can find lots of things in our lives to be grateful for. Gratitude takes us out of ourselves and can give us context and meaning. So write down just one thing you are grateful for every day. It will take less than a minute of your time.

How to hone your meditation skills – 4 ways

In this chapter, we’ll learn how to hone and develop our meditation skills. And we’ll start by identifying common problems people face when they meditate

meditating beginners

As beginners at meditation, we find it hard to rein in our wandering thoughts. These can be a past memory, a dog barking in the present, or some task we have to tackle tomorrow. These thoughts can press in on us and make it hard to meditate.

If this seems like you, you are not alone. In fact, truth to tell, even the most experienced meditators have to deal with this problem from time to time.

But fortunately, there are ways in which we improve our meditative skills in such a way as to keep our minds from drifting off. Let’s take a look at how we can strengthen our meditation practice.

1. Let the errant thought end naturally

If you find that a wandering thought intrudes on your meditation, let that thought finish naturally. This doesn’t mean that you are allowing your mind to wander without direction. Rather it means that you will allow the intruding thought to end without fighting it. If you fight it, the mind will just keep coming back to it.

For example, say you find yourself thinking about some stressful thing you must face tomorrow. Rather than try to stop the thought process immediately, let your brain complete the thought. When it is over, gently bring your thoughts back to meditation. If you try to fight an incoming errant thought, you will only stress yourself out and ruin the meditation.

errant thought meditating

2. Try different meditative practices

Another way to hone your meditation skills is to try out different techniques of meditation. In this way, you will find what suits you best at this point in your life. 

Also, if from the beginning of your meditation journey, you mix things up with these techniques, you will find the whole thing more interesting and engaging.

Some of these different practices include mindfulness meditation, visualizations, living in the moment, and intentional breathing.

You might try picking a mantra to repeat to yourself. A mantra can be any phrase that can inspire you or soothe you. 

And then there is the traditional mantra of “So Hum.” This is an ancient Sanskrit reference to the universe and being at one with it. “So” means “That” and “Hum” means “I.” You repeat the word “So” as you inhale and “Hum” as you exhale. This means “I am that.” 

3: Meditating to the sound of your breath

Meditating to the sound of your breathing is one of the easiest ways for a newcomer to meditation to start developing meditation skills.

We breathe in and out all day long without thinking about it or even realizing it unless we actually do stop to think about it. And this is a good thing. If we had to breathe consciously, we would never sleep.

meditation and breathing

But as we enter a meditative session, rather than allowing our natural and unconscious breathing continue, we can instead use an intentional breathing technique. This will have the effect of anchoring the mind and the body as one.

There are different types of breathing techniques that you can use during a meditation. Here is an example.

Get settled into a comfortable position and start with your eyes closed. Then breathe in through your nose for 5 seconds and out through your mouth for 7 seconds. You can adjust the times in seconds to suit your comfort level. But the thing to remember is that the exhalation should be longer than the inhalation.

As you breathe, create a mind picture or visualization of the air as it enters your nose, swirls around your lungs, and exits your mount. This is part of the cycle of life. Try to feel this with each breath you take. 

While you are breathing, try to visualize the air coming in through your nose, swirling around your entire body, and exiting out your mouth. Try to feel the cycle of life with each breath.

4. Create a space for your meditation 

Set aside a permanent space for meditation in your home. It does not have to be a large space. But it does need to be dedicated exclusively to your meditation practice.

meditation space

Once you have picked out your spot, fit it out with the things that you think will make you feel comfortable. These might be cushions, blankets, and candles. Candles are evocative, decorative, and timeless. They are a great aid to meditation. In fact, there is a candle gazing meditation you might try.

It is important that you only use this space for meditation. You should not let your other daily activities or thoughts invade this space. Once you have established this space, you will find it helps you get into a meditative mindset almost immediately you enter it.

The single secret of being stress-free

Before we get to the secret let’s look at the meaning of stress and the effect it has on us.

Stress and our health

When we are stressed, we feel a sometimes intense physical of emotional tension. It is how our bodies and minds react to the demands and challenges that we all face in life. Stress results from events, thoughts, and anything that engenders feelings of anger, nervousness, or frustration.

meditation and stress

When we experience stress our bodies release defensive hormones that will make our muscles tense, our pulse to increase, and our brain more alert.

Short bursts of stress are a good thing. It can actually keep us alive by avoiding danger, or help us perform better at some of the tasks we undertake. This is called acute stress.

We experience acute stress when we approach a business deadline, when we slam on our brakes to avoid an accident, and when we run a race. So acute stress is actually a good thing. It’s part of being alive and staying alive

But long-term stress, or chronic stress, is bad for us. Chronic stress arises when we feel all the troubles of life piling upon us. This could be because of any number or a multitude of issues, such as chronic anxiety, financial problems, and abusive relationships.

This type of stress can be very bad for us over time. It can result in a multitude of health problems. Some of the health issues associated with chronic stress include:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Excessive weight
  • Clinical depression or anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Menstrual problems
  • Obesity    
  • Skin problems, such as eczema or acne

The Number 1 Secret of being stress-free

Coming straight to the point, the secret of being stress free is to live in the present moment.

What often weighs on our minds is obsessing about the past and worrying about the future. But living in the present is to let go of both past and future.

Living in the present is to live one’s life with body, mind and feelings joined together with your immediate situation as one. The idea of living in the present is that your entire focus is on the things that you control and to let go of the past and future. Because you can’t control the past or future.

You might object to this and say, “Well how can you not live in the present. We are not time travellers.” But the fact of the matter is that very few people actually consciously and deliberately live in the present moment.

Let’s try a thought experiment. With your eyes closed, think about today and everything you have done in it and also with it. Can you remember and note all the times you spent worrying about the future or dwelling in the past?

Did you obsess over past relationships and how they might affect future relationships? Do you fret about tomorrow’s business schedule? In a social setting, were you just waiting for the phone to distract you with something more exciting?

It is perfectly acceptable to think about what happened in the past, because that’s how we learn. And it’s perfectly OK to contemplate the future, because we need to plan for it. 

But the important point is that you want to make both past and future work to improve your present. So try to focus and direct your thoughts and energy on the present. 

Of course you will have thoughts and feel emotions that are based in the past or the future. Allow them to come into the present but focus on what is in front of you, the task at hand.. 

You can do this. And as you do it and keep doing it, you will find that a great deal of your anxiety and stress will simply melt away. And as you practice this going forward, you will come to enjoy a life that is stress-free. 

But now we turn to some supplemental skills that will help you avoid or overcome stress.

Top 4 Skills You Need to Master to Relieve Stress

There are 4 skills of meditation for busy people you can master that will help you to manage and relieve stress. 

1.   Avoid Stress

At the top of the list is to learn how to avoid stress in the first place. This might seem to be a semi-sarcastic “Well, duh” comment. But it really is a helpful tip. And there are three practical ways to do it. You just need to follow them.

meditation and stress

First, take control of what is within your control. You are probably aware of things in your life that can cause you stress. It might be the knowledge that you are likely to have a stressful day. So see what you can plan in advance to take the edge off it. And if being late for an appointment stresses you out, just make sure you leave plenty of time to get there

Second, everybody knows people that can cause them stress. So avoid them altogether or keep your encounters with them to a minimum.

Third, embrace the healing and de-stressing power of just saying, “No.” Oftentimes people find themselves in a stressful situation because they fail to protect themselves by refusing to participate. For example, if someone asks you to complete a task in a time frame that you know is not realistic, just say that it’s not possible and insert your own timeframe. You will get less stress and more respect as well.

2.   Take charge of the situation

If you are in a situation that you know is going to cause you to stress, find a way to take charge of it, and make adjustments to the situation. Think of ways in which you can make what is likely to be stressful less so.

If this involves another person, they are probably going to be completely unaware that they are the cause of your stress. In fact, if they knew they were causing you to stress they would be mortified. Most people are nice people and would not want to harm anybody.

So just approach them gently and in such a way that they don’t feel attacked and get put on the defensive.

stressful situations

If another person is causing you to feel stress, communicate with that person. They are probably unaware of the stress they are putting on you. Remember to approach this person with respect and vulnerability. It is best to use the “I” pronoun so that the other person does not feel attacked.

And oftentimes, stress results from poor time management on your part. So recognize this. Learn to manage your time better, schedule appointments more realistically, and learn how to multitask.

Everybody has limits. Learn what yours are. And stay within the limits you can handle.

3.   Gracefully accept the things you can’t control

The first two skills of our four relate to things we can do to control our circumstances. But there are always things in life that are beyond our control. We just have to accept the things we can’t change.

meditation for busy people

If we fight this, we set ourselves up for a painful and stressful experience. So develop the skill of graceful acceptance of what is outside your control. This will take a lot of stress off your shoulders.

But how do you do this? Try being kind to yourself. Think of what is positive about the situation. See how you can make the best of it. And don’t take it personally. And always be kind to other people who may be involved. Do this and you will put a positive spin on the situation and you won’t stress out about it, or let it affect your positive attitude and mindset.

4.   Learn to adapt to stressful situations

Once you have found that you are in a stressful situation that you cannot control, find ways to adapt to it. Adapting can remove the stress of dealing with the situation. And see if there is a lesson in the situation that can actually help you.

Oftentimes, you can adapt to a situation by changing and adjusting preconceived expectations of it. Something may be stressful because it does not comport with a preconceived vision in your head. So adapt by changing your vision.

And if you find yourself in a stressful situation, try to adapt by thinking of it differently. And if another person is involved in it, try looking at the situation from their point of view.

Conclusion on meditation – 5 key points 

Let’s sum up meditation for busy people with a few key points.

1: Think of the puppy: Start your meditation journey slowly and be patient and kind to yourself. A busy mind can take time and practice to calm into a meditative state. One of our favorite analogies is “training a puppy.” When you start out with meditation, your mind behaves like a puppy. It is restless and curious and all over the place. And training a puppy to sit or stay takes time, kindness, and patience. But eventually, the puppy will settle down. Jack Kornfield.

2: Be consistent: Make meditation a daily habit and try to incorporate it into your daily tasks.

3: Focus the mind: Concentrate on your breathing, or recite your mantra as you breathe in and out. Another way is to do a body scan focus. Observe the sensations in each part of your body. Start with your feet. If you feel any discomfort or tension anywhere, acknowledge it and breathe through it.

4: Meditation does not mean having an empty mind: Focusing the mind is not the same as clearing the mind. You should expect errant thoughts to enter your mind. What your meditation should aim to do is bring your mind back to the task at hand, which is a focus on your breathing, the body scan, or the mantra.

5: Be in the moment: This is the key to stress relief. And this may be the main reason busy people practice meditation. Constantly “being in the moment” can bring your mind into a permanently calm state. And for a busy and successful person, a calm mind is an alert and reasoned mind. 

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