There is a great saying, which always seems to ring true, that when you don't have the time to meditate, that is just the time you need to do it.
It is all too easy to get wrapped up in the frantic world, everything is urgent, everything is pressing, and gradually, our efficiency reduces, stress slows us down, we don't think straight, get distracted, and then hour by hour, day by day, we get swamped by everything.
At this point, it is then very difficult indeed to justify to ourselves taking 30 or even 15 minutes out of our day to meditate. Andy Puddicombe's Headspace app starts off with just 10 minutes for 10 days, yet even this can seem too much for some.
In the attached article, there is a simple method to alleviate stress and start to calm down in 30 seconds - yes, just 30 seconds. Think of that in proportion to the speed which the brain moves for a minute though...
Put yourself into this position, you are in the midst of doing something a little stressful or challenging, your patience is very limited already, and someone says or does something which is likely to push you into the red - to cause you to lose your temper, albeit with a snappy remark or unkind comment. Your fight or flight reaction is ready to go, you have a minuscule split second of time between the thought, reaction, and outcome to try to control yourself. It is those split seconds which snowball, leading us into a very unhealthy mindset.
There are millions of these split seconds contained within the 30 seconds of calming down, millions of opportunities to find ease, to defer the instant reaction to one which may provide a more healthy outcome.
So how do you do it ? How do you find great ease in just 30 seconds ?
4 simple steps :
1. Take a deep breath - already this can create feelings of relaxation and calm, for a start, you are no longer 'doing' just being.
2. Turn towards your body - pay attention to how it is feeling, the sensations, temperature, the pressure of your bottom on the chair (see, you are already doing it), whether there is tension in your shoulders. The brain cannot think and feel at the same time, so now you have stopped thinking about the stress, and are just focussing on the feelings.
3. Rest your attention on your breath - now focus on how the air flows in and out of your nostrils, cold in, warm out, how far does it go in, what happens to lungs? Follow it, and you become anchored in the here and now.
4. Gradually re-awken back into the day - don't jump up and spring back into action, but return to the day with ease and grace - feeling fully refreshed.
Everyone has a 30 second point in their day where this can be practised, be it during a trip to the bathroom or commuting to work, there is always time - when you pay attention to the time you have. Remarkably, once you start this practise, then you will find you have even more time, and all you have done, is to stop scrolling through Facebook whilst you are on the toilet, focussing on something far more productive instead.
A mindful pause is meditation but not in a scary, "oh my god, how can I wipe my mind clear for 30 minutes" kind of way. Studies show that meditation can reduce stress and anxiety, and even in 30 seconds, the mindful pause lets you experience that firsthand. One study even found that meditation shrinks the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for stress, anxiety, and fear.