The most common thing I hear when people tell me they can't meditate is - "i just can't find the time". I used to think "but it's just 5 minutes.. surely everyone can find 5 minutes for their emotional and mental wellbeing!". Well the truth is, they can't. They forget, they find it too difficult, they're up at 6am on a Monday getting their ohm on but by Friday morning it's like "i'd go to a Nickelback concert ON MY OWN for an extra 5 minutes in bed".
If you're reading this like "girl, that's me!" - then I've got you. Here are 5 things you can start doing now, without changing your daily routine, that will give you all the same benefits of a daily meditation practise.
1. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN
Whilst I realise that Instagram wont check itself - and there ain't no shame in a daily scroll - challenge yourself to take your first walk of the day phone-less and just.. walk. Even if it's 2 minutes to the tube station, give yourself that time to look inwards before you get swept up with everything else going on in the world.
2. LISTEN TO A SONG... BUT REALLY LISTEN
If it's the thought of sitting in silence with your thoughts that makes you want to go Lemonade and take a baseball bat to everything in sight - then find peace by giving yourself the length of a song to break from your daily routine. Instead of listening to music as background while you busy yourself with all the stuff you "have to do", take 3 minutes to just listen and let everything else wait.
3. SHOWER YOURSELF WITH AFFIRMATIONS
Meditation can help change the relationship we have with ourselves by shifting negative thought patterns. Affirmations do the same. During your morning shower, pick one affirmation and repeat it 10 times. Pick a simple phrase that gives you what you need in that moment - my personal favourite "I am enough".
4. TEN DEEP BREATHS
Remember in the 90s when people used to tell you to "take a chill pill" and you'd instantly want to face palm them? Well deep breathing is the new chill pill - but hopefully less soul crushingly annoying. The next time you find yourself getting stressed, angry or one 90s phrase away from face palming someone - take 10 deep breaths. Count them slowly and don't stop until you get to 10. Not only will you give yourself some time to decide how you want to react, you will also physically be sending signals to your brain that it's time to slow down and relax.
4. MEDITATE FOR 1 MINUTE
Don't hate me for this one! The truth is, habits take commitment to form and a daily meditation practise is an amazing thing to have. But if you're struggling with 5 minutes then start with 1 minute. As soon as you wake up every morning, set the timer on your phone for 60 seconds and focus on your breath. Starting your day with even just 60 seconds of stillness can change the outcome of your entire day. Maybe one day, you'll want to do 5 - but until that day 1 is just perfect.