Let’s face it… meditation is nothing new.
There’s so much evidence to support the benefits of meditation to improve coping skills, reduce anxiety and build resiliency on a daily basis. And yet it still feels a bit foreign to many of my clients when I mention it as a therapeutic strategy.
Obviously there are some religious and cultural stereotypes about the origins and implementation of meditation techniques. But the science that backs it up is rock solid, and as a therapist I find it’s usually worth overcoming a client’s hesitation to suggest it because many of my clients have reported significant results.
An easy way to practice meditation without it getting weird is what I like to call the mini-meditation. Traditional meditation can be anywhere from a few minutes to several days (or years) depending on your goals and level of commitment. But a few years ago I was impressed with the words of Wayne Dyer who told about his practice of taking a moment to feel grateful every time he found a penny on the sidewalk, a reminder of how much fortune he has experienced in his life.
So I encourage you to find your own mini-meditations. Here are a few things to look for as you search your own life for a meditation cue:
Transitions – Pay attention to the times when you move from one place or activity to another. For example, whenever you touch the knob of your front door become aware of your breath before you walk through. Just before you step out of the shower pause for a few more seconds of calm as you watch the water flow down the drain.
Obstacles – Choose to respond peacefully when you are feeling blocked or hindered by circumstances out of your control. Open your car windows and listen to the rhythmic sound of a train while you wait for it to pass. Count the number of breaths you can take while you wait for a file to load on your computer. Find something to appreciate about the cashier who is taking too long with the customer in front of you.
Rituals – Even the simplest rituals can become an opportunity for mindfulness. Folding laundry can feel less tedious by remembering the events you experienced in each piece of clothing. Reflect on the miracle of modern technology whenever you pour a glass of orange juice in the middle of winter. Recognize the abundance in your life when you take out the trash.
Take a minute to examine the countless opportunities in your life to break through the persistent hum of thoughts and concerns that distract you from the present moment. Even if you haven’t found the time or motivation for an extensive meditation practice, a few mini-meditations in your day can add up to significant results.