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Easy Beginning Meditation Tips for Busy People

What meditation is

Meditation is traditionally the practice of training your mind to focus on a single point or thought, such as your breath, a mantra, or a specific visualization. I believe that meditation is something that can be practical and accessible for anyone, even busy people that would rather or need to spend time doing something else.

Do you need to do a 30-day silent retreat? No. Do you need to meditate for 30 minutes a day? No. Set aside your assumptions; I promise I can make this approachable for anyone.

In this guide, I will explore the benefits of meditation and provide practical tips for busy beginners looking to incorporate this practice into their lives.

Jump to a section:

What's a "busy person"?

I'm talking about the person that doesn't slow down. They are always busy: taking the kids to school or practices, running a business, socializing, cleaning something, and more. This person feels stressed and overwhelmed pretty much all the time.

On top of that, this person may not be considering that they need to slow down. This person thinks spending time being "mindful" is ridiculous when they have so much more stuff to do!

If this describes you, you're in the right place. And trust me - I can relate! I'll share more about myself toward the end. I won't judge you if you don't judge me. Deal?

Alright, let's talk about how meditation can be beneficial.


Benefits of Meditation for Busy People

Busy people prioritize their busy-ness, thinking that slowing down will only hinder their productivity. However, there are numerous potential benefits of meditation to the busy person, including:

  1. reductions in stress and anxiety

  2. improved concentration

  3. increased productivity

Reductions in stress and anxiety (1/3)

One of meditation's most commonly cited benefits is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. When we experience stress, our body releases cortisol, a hormone that can negatively affect our health. Meditation has been shown to lower cortisol levels, leading to improved mood and decreased anxiety.

Mindfulness meditation lowers the cortisol levels in the blood suggesting that it can lower stress and may decrease the risk of diseases that arise from stress such as psychiatric disorder, peptic ulcer and migraine. (NIH)


Improved concentration (2/3)

By training your mind to focus on a single point, such as your breath or visualization, you can learn to block out distractions and stay focused on your experience of the present moment. This can be particularly beneficial for busy people juggling multiple daily responsibilities and tasks.

Increased productivity (3/3)

Practicing meditation can help you to think more clearly with less mental clutter. It can also allow a reduction in emotional dysregulation. Combining these two could result in increased goal-directed activities and more productivity. Indeed, meditation"...may be associated with structural changes in areas of the brain that are important for sensory, cognitive, and emotional processing. The data further suggest that meditation may impact age-related declines in cortical structure" (NIH).

Put simply - meditation is good for your brain and good for productivity. Being more productive means freeing up some time for less busyness. And having more emotional regulation means that things typically stress-inducing won't be as stress-inducing.


Meditation isn't just woo-woo stuff.

Meditation and mindfulness don't just improve general connection and awareness of the present moment. There are also more concrete potential benefits as well. I have no interest in woo-woo. I need evidence and data, maybe just like you.

Numerous studies have shown improvements in a range of behavioral problems or reductions in the intensity of symptoms through mindfulness-based interventions, such as:

  1. Blood pressure: "practicing mindfulness-based stress reduction was associated with a significant reduction in blood pressure." (NCCIH)

  2. Insomnia & sleep: "mindfulness meditation practices improved sleep quality more than education-based treatments." (NCCIH)

  3. anxiety & depression: "for treating anxiety and depression, mindfulness-based approaches were better than no treatment at all, and they worked as well as the evidence-based therapies." (NCCIH)

  4. Cancer: "...use of mindfulness practices among people with cancer significantly reduced psychological distress, fatigue, sleep disturbance, pain, and symptoms of anxiety and depression." (study was mostly breast cancer) (NCCIH)

Easy Meditation Tips for Busy People

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be a meditation guru or yogi to benefit from meditation. Meditation can be simple and accessible to anyone, regardless of background or experience. Meditation is an ideal practice for busy people who may not have much time to spare, as even just a few minutes of meditation each day can make a difference.

Let's go over 5 techniques for beginners next.


Meditation Techniques for Beginners

If you're new to meditation, several techniques are particularly effective, including:

  1. allowing positive emotions

  2. focusing on breath

  3. body scanning

  4. visualizations

  5. guided practices

Allowing positive emotions: Meditation doesn't need to be empty-minded nor summon and allow negative experiences. Instead, purposefully call upon more positive emotions through your memory. When I remember the birth of my children and how they grabbed my finger with their tiny newborn hands, I can feel happiness and connection. I can mindfully allow those emotions to be in the present moment.

Focus on breath: This is one of the simplest and most popular meditation techniques. Close your eyes (if you like) and focus on your breath, inhaling and exhaling deeply and slowly. When your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath. I don't like to recommend prescribed breathing. Instead, let your body breathe how it naturally knows how to and needs to. It will take care of you.

Body scan: This technique focuses on each part of your body, from the top of your head to your toes. Notice any sensations you feel without judgment. Allow a range of emotions to make themselves present, both negative and positive.

Visualizations: This technique involves imagining a peaceful place or situation, such as a beach or a quiet forest. Allow yourself to fully immerse in this visualization and release any stress or anxiety. I often ask my therapy clients where they would go to feel safe. Focus on the details of the scenario and what it would be like to experience that environment through your senses directly.

Guided practices: If you struggle with meditation, find a guided practice. There are lots out there for free, or you can use an app like "Calm." You'll need to pick and choose what works best for you and dump the rest. I prefer something very concrete and directive. If it involves "beams of light" entering me, I'll pass.

Next, let's ensure you are prepared to maximize your meditation opportunities, which may be less often than ideal.


Preparing for Meditation

Prepare ahead of time to be more effective with your new meditation practice in your busy life. That way, you get the most out of your time and out of the practice. Prepare ahead of time by:

  • finding the calmest environment in your home

  • knowing what helps you feel calm

  • preparing for distraction

Find the calmest environment in your home. (1/3)

Pick the spot in your home that is the most calming for you. This provides passive safety cues. You can also alter the environment to increase those cues. Some tips for creating a calmer environment are:

  • turn off all electronics

  • use a soothing scent to help slow down

  • dim the lighting or let in natural light

  • declutter your area

This is very similar to what is recommended in Building Safety Anchors. By identifying the safest environment in your home, you can enhance the passive cues of safety through minor adjustments to it.


Know what helps you to feel safe and calm. (2/3)

Before trying to meditate, know what helps you to feel calm. Knowing ahead of time streamlines your efforts by eliminating the guesswork. Some things to consider are:

  • What scent is the most efficient at bringing you calm?

  • What lighting do you like?

  • What time of day is ideal?

  • What sounds would you prefer? Or is quiet better?

If you don't know, that's okay. You can always experiment with something different each time, prune out what doesn't work for you, and build on what does. I tend to prefer silence or music called "lo-fi chill hop." (I have it on now as I write this.)

Dealing with distractions: (3/3)

If you're like me, there is a nearly 100% chance that you will be interrupted or distracted during meditation. Kids, spouses, chores, and thoughts that keep popping up about other stuff that needs to be done.

So deal with distractions ahead of time if you can. Think about what will likely happen. Here are a few tips:

  • meditate when everyone is asleep, either early in the morning or at night

  • turn off your phone and every device you need to!

  • put on the right kind of music to help you focus inwardly

  • tell anyone and everyone that you need 5 minutes to be alone!

I'm busy too!

I mentioned before that I can relate. I'm busy too. Here's a list of what my life looks like:

  • very active Father: packing kids' lunches, dropping them off and picking them up from school, plus after-school practices, playing with my kids

  • very active spouse: my wife and I are partners in everything and prize our time together, even if we're watching Netflix.

  • homeowner: chores and more chores, including maintaining a pain-in-the-butt pool that needs constant attention

  • working full-time as a therapist in a high-risk public school

  • private practice therapist doing sessions on Saturday mornings and a couple of weeknights here and there

  • coaching every other Sunday

  • content creator: blog, podcast, and youtube

  • course creator, book writer, webinar hoster for my course students twice a month

  • other business things that eat up my time

That's just a broad overview. When it comes to the finer points of my day, the minute-to-minute, you would see me being productive constantly.

But in my opinion, busy is not bad. Not necessarily...


Being busy is not (necessarily) bad...

Are you worried yet? Don't be. I love it.

All the stuff that I do doesn't feel like work. I genuinely enjoy what I do for a living and what I create in my business. I love being a dad and a husband, and I think my wife and I are doing a pretty damn good job raising our kiddos. My health is good, and I am making a significant impact on the people in this world. I love hearing from my audience and how my creation impacts them positively.

What might look like being busy on the outside... well, it is busy. But it's also my passion and my fulfillment.

Do I feel stressed sometimes? Sure. And that's when I know I need to slow down. Ideally, I slow myself down, and do some mindfulness and meditation before the stress comes on. Stress is not bad; it can be quite motivating. But I balance it out with quality time with my family and giving myself moments of peace during the day.

Meditate when you can. It's worth it.

I encourage you also to find time for short bursts of meditation if you're busy like me. Be honest with yourself; slow down before there's a problem. Take in the present moment with a breath and listen to your body.

Trust me - it's worth it. Before you get down to work productivity, spend 5 minutes with your internal experience as best you can. It will ultimately make you more productive, more focused, and less stressed.


Process Your Emotions More Efficiently

If you're ready to meditate, you're ready to process and relieve your emotions, including stress and anxiety.



Q: What are the benefits of meditation for busy people?

A: Meditation can help busy people reduce stress and anxiety, improve concentration, and increase productivity. It can also lead to structural changes in the brain that support cognitive and emotional processing.

Q: How can beginners incorporate meditation into their busy lives?

A: Beginners can start by practicing simple techniques like focusing on breath, body scanning, and visualizations. It's also important to find a calm environment and prepare for distractions ahead of time. Just a few minutes of meditation each day can make a difference.

Q: Can meditation really help with mental health?

A: Yes, numerous studies have shown that meditation can improve symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and even cancer-related distress. It can also lower cortisol levels, improving mood and decreasing anxiety. Meditation is a practical and accessible tool for improving mental health. However, I do not recommend using meditation alone as a replacement for professional help when needed.


Author Bio:

Justin Sunseri is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Coach specializing in trauma relief. He is the host of the Stuck Not Broken podcast, and author of the book Trauma & the Polyvagal Paradigm. He specializes in treating trauma and helps individuals get "unstuck" from their defensive states.

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