Being a busy career professional sometimes makes it hard to live through the day without feeling stressed and anxious. Whether you’re solving complicated working issues, lamenting about unfinished monthly goals, or worrying about your family, your body and mind suffer from the extra stress these thoughts induce. So, is there a way for you to become serene in this demanding world?
Why do you need meditation in your life?
Previously used by monks to open the mind for sacred thoughts, now meditations are getting more mainstream to calm your mind and reduce the daily stress. What’s more, meditating can help you become more productive and boost your brain performance.
According to the Harvard Business Review, meditations make you less emotional and more rational so that you can make decisions prudently. Another study has proved people who meditate increase their ability to process information. As a result, meditators are more efficient at work and everyday life than those who don’t meditate.
Most busy people ignore their emotional well-being, focusing on other health-promoting things like a balanced diet, planning, or visiting the gym. But there’s no healthy body without a healthy mind. Ignoring stress and mental issues can lead you to the point when negative thoughts can cause physical disorders and diseases (so-called psychosomatic illness).
Before showing you how to make meditation a part of your busy daily routine, let’s take a look at the benefits it may bring to your life.
Why is it so beneficial for your health and energy to meditate?
Aside from the well-known benefits like releasing stress or calming your mind, regular meditations have many advantages a career person would enjoy.
Meditations boost your energy and physical endurance
What’s crucial for a modern professional is that meditations increase your energy level and physical productivity. The University of Waterloo study shows meditators perform physical tasks way more effectively than people who don’t meditate. Plus, the study confirms meditating releases endorphins and increases blood flow to the brain, giving you extra energy for the day.
Meditations promote your brain development
That may sound crazy, but regular meditations help develop your brain. An international researchers group has found that meditating people has an increased grey matter density in their brains. And since the grey matter is responsible for such processes as learning, emotion regulation, and memorizing, meditators have a better cognitive performance.
Meditations protect your brain from aging
If you want to keep your mind clear and sharp as long as you can despite the years, meditation is an excellent choice to protect your brain from aging. The UCLA study has shown meditators' brain structure is less affected by aging. Thus, meditations will help you keep your professionalism and high productivity for a longer time.
Meditations help you fight addictions
A specific meditation approach, so-called mindfulness, can help you fight any kind of addiction. The University of Washington research has found subjects who meditate are less likely to have substance abuse relapses.
Although, meditations can also help people who overeat, want to give up smoking, or have other addictions. It promotes self-awareness, so you have a clear grasp of the reasons driving your cravings.
Meditation makes you healthier
As we already mentioned, your health links to your mental wellness. And since meditation is like a healing treatment to the mind, practicing it can bring you actual health benefits. Recent studies show meditators have stronger immunity and lower risks to get inflammation or cancer.
Meditation increases your focus and concentration
In some cases, you may find it hard to focus on your daily tasks, especially boring ones. That’s where meditation can be of much help — studies claim it boosts your concentration skills and helps you focus for a longer time. So if your working day consists of various routine tasks, try meditations to complete them faster and easier due to the high focus.
That’s why you need to make meditations your daily routine task as crucial as brushing teeth or taking a shower. Meditation is a way to take care of your mind and clean it the same way you keep your body clean.
Now you may think: “But I don’t have time to sit with crossed legs and make stupid sounds for hours!” In fact, you won’t have to. Take a look at the insights we’ve prepared for you on how to fit meditation into a busy lifestyle, and you’ll see it can be even easier than breathing.
How can you fit meditation into a busy schedule?
Even if you don’t have an extra minute during the day, being extremely busy with work tasks and personal matters, you still can adjust meditation into your schedule. And the main thing you should know about meditation is that you can practice it in parallel with any other action.
That’s right — you don't have to take a break from work to lock yourself in the backroom and meditate on a pile of mops and boxes. You don’t need to perform specific activities to practice meditations every day - the process goes only in your mind and thoughts. And here are the most effortless meditation practices you can try even when you’re super busy:
The most accessible meditation practice you should try is breathing meditation. We breathe unconsciously without even thinking about how we do it. This type of meditation, in turn, needs you to watch your breath. The very rhythm of your breathing, soothing and monotonous, will help you temporarily move away from the noisy world and listen to your body.
Italian scientists have proven breath-control practices make you more relaxed, alert, vigor, and reduce your anxiety, depression, and anger. Thus, when sitting in the office, riding the subway, or waiting for your morning coffee, watch your breath. Feel how with every breath, life spills over your body and fills you with oxygen.
Another effective though easy meditation practice is loving-kindness. It helps you cultivate compassion and warmth towards people around you and get rid of destructive, negative thoughts. Suppose you feel angry, frustrated, or confused. In that case, loving-kindness meditation may allow you to find positive sides in any situation and solve inner conflicts.
When practicing loving-kindness meditation, you should sit calmly, close your eyes, and think about anyone you know (even an enemy). If you have imagined that person, try to send positive energy and a
When being outside, you’re more likely to rush somewhere without giving extra thought to what is surrounding you and how your body feels. Practicing walking meditation means you consciously make every step, focus on how your legs move, how they touch the ground, and lift. This meditation helps you bring your mind and body in sync if you’re feeling anxious, troubled, angry, or confused.
You can pick a park trail to practice walking meditations or do it when you’re heading to the office. The things that matter are comfortable speed, relaxed posture, and an open mind to be aware of the moment.
We overload our minds with tons of negative thoughts during the day, leading to constant stress, anxiety, and depression. If you want to fight these thoughts and increase your focus, try the focused-attention meditation. When practicing it, concentrate on one specific thing, usually sensory stimuli like smells, tastes, sounds, or tactile sensations.
Try to focus on the things you like — it can be a smell of new paper, a taste of your bubble gum, birds singing outside the window, or the sound of rain. Start with 5-minute focusing and consequently increase the time of your meditation.
You’ll see how it helps your anxious thoughts float away, clearing your mind for more urgent things and tasks. Studies also state focused-attention meditations can increase your problem-solving skills and help you effectively fight everyday stressors.
One of the most significant troubles caused by a fast-paced life is that you don’t have time to experience the present moment, hoping that an entire life awaits you somewhere ahead. And what mindfulness meditation teaches you is that you should live to the full right now. When practicing it, you observe the moment as it is without extra thoughts or judgments for some time.
Mindfulness meditation is like a shelter where you can hide from your past fears and future troubles. This practice helps you realize you can handle everything as long as you’re self-aware. Numerous researches have proven mindfulness meditations improve your memory, reduce stress or anxiety, and even develop empathy. After practicing it, you’ll also find yourself more caring and passionate towards the people around you.
Body scan meditation
You could hardly grasp the strength of strain your mind puts on your body. Anxiety and stress can make your body ache, and you wouldn’t even know the source of this pain. And by practicing body scan meditations, you learn to hear your body signals and release the pain caused by stress. While doing this type of meditation, you should precisely ‘scan’ your body.
Sit still for a moment and try to hear the signals your body sends you. Start from your feet and gradually rise higher — if you’ll feel discomfort in any part of your body, stop to think it over. Imagine that you take away the pain and let it fade away. Thus, you’ll not only get to know your body better but also release extra tension, making your body and mind more relaxed and calm.
Tips on how you can effectively meditate when you’re busy:
- Meditate while waiting. Subway, bus rides or lines are the perfect occasions to save your time and practice meditation.
- Don’t push away negative thoughts but accept them as part of yourself.
- Try to meditate at the same time everyday (for example, before your lunch or going to sleep) to turn it into a habit.
- Choose the posture you’re comfortable in wherever you’re trying to meditate.
- Try guided meditation - listen to a podcast from a meditation trainer and follow the voice to clear your mind quicker.
- Don’t control your breath - do it naturally.
- Listen to calm and relaxing music when working — it works like a small background meditation.
- Don’t follow meditation rules too strictly, do it the way you like.
- Yoga, Meditation Improve Brain Function And Energy Levels, Study Shows (2017)
- Mindfulness Practice Leads To Increases In Regional Brain Gray Matter Density (2011)
- Psychosomatic Disorder (2019)
- Meditation: In Depth (2016)
- Mindfulness For People Who Are Too Busy To Meditate (2014)
- "Mindfulness" Meditation Can Help Reduce Addiction Relapse Rates: Study (2014)
- Can Meditation Boost Your Immune System? (2020)
- Forever Young(er): Potential Age-Defying Effects Of Long-Term Meditation On Gray Matter Atrophy (2015)
- Losing Focus? Studies Say Meditation May Help (2010)
- How Breath-Control Can Change Your Life: A Systematic Review on Psycho-Physiological Correlates of Slow Breathing (2018)
- The Scientific Case For “Focused-Attention Meditation” (2020)
- With Mindfulness, Life’s In The Moment (2018)
- Mindfulness Increases Prosocial Responses Toward Ostracized Strangers Through Empathic Concern (2018)
- Body Scan Meditation (2021)