Whether or not you believe in the power of meditation, you can probably get on board with the idea of sitting quietly, breathing deeply and not consciously controlling your thoughts. I can say from first hand experience that it is relaxing and helps to calm the mind and deal with stress.
There have been numerous studies done on meditation and according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, it may help people deal with a variety of conditions like high blood pressure; certain psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and insomnia; pain and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
I'm constantly touting the benefits of meditation to my friends and colleagues, and perhaps the most common reason I hear for people not wanting to try meditation is not having the time for it. Entrepreneurs especially are a busy bunch of people and the thought of spending even a minute consciously doing nothing can seem like a waste of time.
You can sneak it into your busy schedule. The beauty of meditation is that it doesn't have to be an hour-long session of sitting cross legged and listening to a "nature sounds" playlist.
Try these six ways of fitting meditation into your hectic life:
1. Do it in the car.
When you're not driving, obviously.
Before you leave your car in the morning to head inside, take a few minutes to sit and meditate. Of course you should turn your car off and open the windows rather than letting it idle. It may not be the most relaxing environment, but training yourself to meditate under non-ideal conditions is akin to exercising. It takes practice and diligence.
It wasn't easy to condition myself to meditate in my car when I first started, but I eventually got the hang of it. You can, too.
2. Schedule time for it.
You schedule time for everything else, so why not for meditation? It doesn't need to be a long time--just five minutes or so. The key is to be consistent. It's not five minutes here and there, it's five minutes every day just after lunch.
By being consistent and treating it like a regularly occurring meeting, you'll condition yourself to expect it each day at that time. Use your calendar app to set a reminder for yourself if that helps.
3. Reward yourself.
Yes, meditation is its own reward, but if you're having trouble staying dedicated to it, try giving yourself a reward at the end of the day when you are able to do it. What you want the reward to be is up to you. Ice cream is always a solid choice.
4. Punish yourself.
The flipside of reward is punishment. I suggest that you give a certain amount of money to someone or something every time you miss a meditation day. (Kind of like a reverse swear jar.)
You can give the money to your kids or donate it to a charity of your choice. The point is putting a cost on something tends to make you remember it better.
5. Meditate post shower or pre-breakfast.
Try meditating in the evening after you shower. Since you likely shower alone most of the time, you can meditate right after you are finished showering and you have the bathroom to yourself.
Or, you can try meditating first thing in the morning before the day really gets going. Get it out of the way. It gives you a sense that you've accomplished something before you even start your day, much like making your bed when you wake up. Fair warning, though, relaxing and closing your eyes immediately after you wake up can lead to unintentional naps.
6. Involve your kids.
Kids (up to a certain age) love doing stuff with their parents. Sitting still might not be their strong suit, but if you involve your kids, you'll be more likely to do it and they might develop an appreciation for meditation early on in their lives. You can bribe them, if necessary.
Personally, I do a combination of these, meditating in my car before I go into the office and after I shower in the evenings. I also use a mobile app to remind me and get my kids involved. No comment on whether or not I bribe them.
My success rate is still only around 60 percent, but that's better than nothing--and better than the 25 percent I had before I started implementing some of these tips. It's all about little bits of progress.