Here at Integrative Nutrition, we love to talk about Primary Food – it’s a revolutionary concept at the core of our curriculum. Primary Food is everything that feeds your life – your relationships, spirituality, career, even exercise. Self-care is a huge component of Primary Food because taking time to connect with yourself is something that so many people forget to do within the hustle and bustle of daily life. Meditation is a great way to incorporate self-care and can help significantly when it comes to connecting with your true self.
Meditation is quite a powerful medicine. Not only can it reduce anxiety, but it can also increase learning abilities, memory function and even empathy, according to Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar. Meditating for just eight weeks can create these positive changes in the brain, but who has time to sit in a quiet room for an hour each day?
The good news is meditation doesn’t have to be super time-consuming. As Lazar explains in her interview with The Washington Post, there’s no concrete data on how much time each session must be in order to see benefits. But meditation teachers say that even 10 minutes a day could help. Here, we’ve rounded up some easy ways to add meditation to your day. (And check out our other tips for adding meditation to your life.)
Download an app.
There’s still an app for everything, right? Meditation apps can provide quick relaxation at home or on the go. Greatist offers a handy list of apps to choose from: Check out Headspace, which offers 10-minute sessions (or longer if you’d like) and the option to choose sessions that fit your current mood. There’s also Buddhify, which fits meditation sessions into activities you’re already doing such as taking a work break, “waiting around” or browsing online.
Go to a class.
Although this will take up more than 10 minutes of your time, attending a class will hold you accountable for meditating. If you live in New York, Meditation Center NYC has daily drop-in classes. In Los Angeles, studios such as Unplug offer meditations as short as 30 minutes. Some studios even offer free classes! You can also ask your local yoga studios about meditation classes. Even if they don’t specifically have them, yoga in itself is a meditative exercise.
Do a quick body scan.
You can relax in just a few minutes by relaxing one part of your body at a time, from your head to your toes. The Mindfulness app actually has a five-minute “body scan” option that can help if you need guidance. You can fit in a body scan anywhere, whether at your office desk or in bed before you fall asleep.
Just be present.
Meditation doesn’t have to be a formal activity. Simply being mindful is a great way to relax, especially nowadays with the temptation to always be doing something online. Try just looking out the window at the birds, or enjoying a cup of tea while being aware of your senses. What does the tea smell like? How does the warmth of the cup feel in your hands?
Close your eyes and think about the things you’re grateful for. Giving thanks can help you feel happier and less stressed, and it can turn a bad day into a good one (or at least a “not-so-bad” one). Check out this guided meditation on gratitude.
What do you think? Can you try adding a couple minutes of mindfulness or meditation into your weekly routine? Try it out and share your experiences in the comments below!