How To Be Mindful When You Don’t Have Time To Meditate

The idea of meditation is attractive, but we don't always have ten minutes to steal away and sit with our thoughts. Here are three things you can do instead. 

“I’m a useless meditator,” one frustrated individual tells The Guardian, “The idea of meditation is attractive, but I can’t stomach the static silence that is involved. Plus, I can’t often shut myself away in a room for 10 minutes, without the distraction of children or noise.”

Sound familiar?

Sometimes we don’t have time to meditate—and that becomes a point of stress, too. “Sometimes when I’m rushing, I’ll notice that I’m ‘rushing home to relax.'” says Elisha Goldstein, who is a clinical psychologist and Mindful’s mental health blogger. “In that moment I become present and realize that I don’t have to rush home to relax, I have arrived in the present moment and can choose to ‘be’ different.”

1. Walking Meditation

Instead of carving out practice time, we can learn how to be present while simply walking. Try this walking meditation practice from Mindful magazine. For more mindfulness practices you can try today, check out our mindfulness practice page.

2. Give Your Time To Someone Else 

In four studies conducted by the University of Harvard, Pennsylvania, and Yale, participants reported feeling that their sense of having time increased when they did small things for others, like writing a kind note. When participants gave their time away, they actually felt that they had more time to spare, compared to participants who spent time with themselves or got more free time by leaving the experiment early.

3. Feeling Overwhelmed? Remember “RAIN”

Practicing a little self care in tough situations can help us feel more grounded and less carried away by a stressful conversation or a hard day at work. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, try the RAIN practice:

Recognize what is going on;

Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;

Investigate with kindness;

Natural awareness, which comes from not identifying with the experience.

But if you can carve out ten minutes for meditation, it might actually make you feel less bogged down with your busy schedule, according to recent research.