I was dragged to my first-ever meditation class against my will. Sure, I had heard of this mind quieting madness, but I just felt it would be an impossible feat.
We were given simple instructions: sit on your mat, close your eyes for 30 minutes, disregard your thoughts, and focus on your breath. That was it.
I sat there, eyes closed, rebelliously thinking (because I wasn’t supposed to be thinking), “Who has 30 minutes a day to sit in silence?” The thought actually stressed me out, which defeated the purpose.
Despite my negative outlook, I did understand that my mind needed a break. The reason we feel stressed, unclear, and in a hurry most of the time is because we haven’t learned to tame our thoughts. When it comes to feeling clear and living an intentional life, meditation is the game changer. My regular practice of sitting quietly is the foundation of my relationship with myself.
Most recently I’ve found myself with a busy travel schedule due to my business growing. And guess what was the first thing to fly out the window? My morning ritual, which includes time for meditation. Funny enough, when we’re busiest is when we need meditation the most. We need clarity and a strong sense of purpose to make intentional decisions for ourselves. And that can only come from knowing ourselves, which is a result of observing what is going on internally. Yep, meditation will get you there.
Recently, I partnered up with Hilton Garden Inn for a really inspiring campaign called #HGIBrightIdeas, where I was asked to give time-saving tips for traveling. Meditation instantly came to mind, because having healthy thoughts saves us from self-doubt, which, as you know, is such a time sucker.
As a way to encourage each other to commit to our internal relationship, I’ve put together five tips for meditating when you’re traveling (hopefully at a Hilton Garden Inn!) or for when you simply just don’t have time. Here is my easy-peasy guide to meditating on-the-go.
1. Keep it Simple
Friends, seriously, keep it simple. You don’t need to pack an extra pair of yoga pants or mat. Comfy pajama pants and a hotel bath towel are more than enough. Find a spot on the floor of your hotel room, and you’re good to go.
If you’re home, the same philosophy goes. I meditate in my office, in the morning, while in my pajamas. There’s no ceremony or anything like that, unless you consider Oliver yelling from the room and Foxy whining at my feet ceremonial. Complete quiet is rare, so work with what you have. And be easy on your not-so-Pinterest-perfect setting, alright?
2. Decide on the Right Time to Meditate
Starting your day with meditation will make your mind sharp and more focused. And remember, a focus mind is a time-saving machine.
Although meditating in the morning can feel extra challenging because that’s usually the time our to-do list starts running through our minds, this is when you need it the most. The more hectic your mind is, the better the time is to meditate. So if you’re planning a big presentation or going in for a job interview, meditating before will increase your chances.
Why? Because when you’re sitting there, uncomfortably, watching your thoughts run wild, you will learn how to not get caught up in the drama. By watching our thoughts, we’ll begin to notice that thoughts are things and not actually us. We can decide to be part of them or not. We don’t have to indulge into every thought. We should be choosing which thought to be part of.
Being able to pick our thoughts is a super power that makes us more effective, plus a more honest version of ourselves. For this reason, even if it feels inconvenient, setting aside time for meditating will, in the end, save us time.
3. Set a Timer for 10 Minutes
Sure, 30 minutes of meditating would be amazing, but it’s usually not realistic. Ten minutes is enough to get you started. Don’t let fitting meditation into your schedule stress you out!
Sit your bottom on your mat or towel, grab your smart phone, and set your timer to 10 minutes. Allow the fun to begin.
4. Mason Jar Your Thoughts
As your sitting, you’re going to work on focusing on your breath. We do this to have a point of focus. Without a point of focus, we are more likely to get caught up in wild thoughts produced by the mind. Before we know it we’re thinking about what we might order for lunch.
Everyone who meditates, even the pros, experience wandering thoughts popping up. When we first start they are relentless. Don’t be upset at yourself for not accomplishing complete silence.
What you want to strive for is not engaging in the thought. The thought about tomorrow’s lunch is going to pop up, but you don’t have to follow the thought. You can stop it mid-sentence. What I like to do is imagine placing the thought into a mason jar, sealing it, and putting it up on an imaginary shelf. As soon as I seal that jar, for the most part the thought stops — and then I’m on to the next one.
This practice shows us that we actually have some say when it comes to what thoughts we choose to be part of. Also, realizing that our thoughts come from so many influences is really powerful.
5. Say Thank You & Reflect
Once that timer goes off, you’ve succeeded. Woohoo! It’s really important to give yourself a high-five at this time. This way, you associate meditation with a job well done, which will make you more likely to do it again.
This is also the time you can reflect on what you learned about yourself during meditation. Were you angry? Were your thoughts unruly?
The idea is to take what we learned on the mat to our every day lives. Lately, I’ve been working on focus. I’m working on not indulging or believing the thoughts that pop up on a day-to-day basis. Instead, keeping my focus on what I deeply know is important.
As you wrap things up, consider journaling your findings, and of course, saying thank you to your very kind soul.
Soooo, if you’re dreaming of meditating while traveling, you must enter into Hilton Garden Inn’s #HGIBrightIdeas contest to win a free two-night stay. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Post a photo to Instagram.
2. In the caption give your own time-saving travel tip.
3. Use the hashtag #HGIBrightIdeas.
4. Tag @hiltongardeninn and @nikkinovo.
5. Send me a post card once you win!