Our hectic lifestyle often leaves little time for contemplation. I know when I was working a full-time executive job and raising two young kids, days could go by between opportunities for me to meditate, pray or have time by myself. There are seasons in a life when schedules are full of obligations. Still, there are ways to sneak in mindfulness moments during busy days. The benefit of incorporating sacred moments into a full schedule is the sense of calm and peace you will receive despite the demands on your time.
Here are ten quick and easy ways to find time for mindfulness moments everyday:
1. During the commute, turn off your radio, MP3 player and/or cell phone and instead do one or more of the following: Pray. Sing. Feel the steering wheel in your hands. Smile. Think of five things you are grateful for.
2. When you get to work, take a few moments in your car to do a brief breathing meditation, observing and counting your breaths from one to ten. Or, on your walk to your office, walk slowly and coordinate your breathing with your steps. For example, you might inhale for 2 steps and exhale for 3 steps. Set a positive intention for the day.
3. Do the same when you arrive home at night - sit for a moment in the car and do a quick breathing meditation or prayer. Set a positive intention for the evening’s activities.
4. When the phone rings, take a moment to silently bless the caller. Then take a deep breath and answer the phone.
5. Take a mindful bathroom break. Pay attention to the breath while using the toilet. Breathe deeply and attentively. Perform a hand-washing ritual in which you consciously wash off the energy of the past moments and clean your hands in preparation for the coming meetings or tasks. Set a positive intention for the next segment of your day.
6. A friend of mine sets her computer to ring mindfulness chimes on the quarter hour. It reminds her to stop and breath for just moment. You could do the same with a chime on your watch, set to sound on the hour.
7. Say a silent prayer of thanksgiving before eating lunch.
8. Take a moment periodically throughout the day to close your eyes, breathe and visualize being in your "happy place". For me, it’s the beach in Santa Barbara, California. Use all five senses to imagine that you are there. This is a great stress reliever, and it only takes a moment to go there in your mind.
9. Before going to sleep, pray. I had a friend who said, "Kristin, I kneel down beside my bed each night and thank the Lord for five things that happened that day. And I pray for those who need God’s love." Set a positive intention for your dreams that night.
10. Upon waking, take several deep breaths. Say a prayer of gratitude for the new day. Set a positive intention for the coming day.
So, even if you don’t have time for a formal daily meditation or prayer practice, you can still squeeze sacred moments into a crazy day. You’ll be glad you did!