We get it: you’re busy. You’re practically a Professional Busy Person! After all, you managed to keep yourself occupied when there was literally nothing going on but binge-watching Tiger King, researching face mask patterns, and scrolling past a parade of sourdough loaves on social media. And, of course, we don’t need to lecture you about the benefits of meditation. You already know that mindfulness practice has been scientifically proven to relieve stress, reduce anxiety and depression, combat PTSD, alleviate chronic pain, prevent heart disease, boost your immunity, improve sleep, and even regulate your metabolism.
It’s just...well...you’re kind of bad at it? Every time you so much as think of sitting down for your daily meditation, your mind has already drifted. And the minute you try to focus your thoughts, you’re thinking about...burritos, maybe? And the fact that your left buttcheek has fallen asleep. Then you start to think about the fact that you’re thinking about your buttcheek and how bad you are at this—and BAM, you’ve given up on daily meditation.
Feeling seen, to an uncomfortable degree? Us too, boo. That’s because everyone, even those saffron-robed monks who can sit in serene silence for hours, have had the very same thoughts. The Buddha experienced this so often, in fact, that he gave it a name: kapicitta, or “monkey mind.” The thing is, the monkey mind is something you’re experiencing pretty much all the time—it’s just easier to notice when you’re practicing your daily meditation.
Think of your thoughts as a troop of hungry monkeys and your brain as the single banana over which they’re fighting. Different monkeys—anger, sadness, anxiety, confusion, fear—are going to grab that banana on different days. Mindfulness practices are all about taming the monkeys. The funny thing, though: the worse you think you are at meditation, the more likely you are to benefit from it! So cut yourself some slack, and give yourself permission to start small. Here are five foolproof mindfulness practices even the busiest beginner can do.
1. Just Breathe
We’ve all heard this a zillion times. And we’re all breathing, all the time...right? And yet, the simple act of mindful breathing can be such a revelation. All of the monkeys in your troop can be calmed and controlled with focused breathing. Again, feel free to start small—say, ten breaths total: five seconds to inhale, five seconds to exhale. Repeat. The next time, scan your body for sensations before you start and again after you finish. Notice the difference. Now stop counting, and breathe normally. You just did a mindfulness practice!
2. Walk the Walk
Walking meditation is a great gateway into mindfulness practices, particularly for those who struggle with the “sitting still” aspects of daily meditation. You can do it just about anywhere, and you get the added benefits of light, calming exercise. But before you fire up your favorite podcast and prepare to spend the next hour listening to your favorite series, hold up a sec. That’s just a walk.
Walking meditation is something else entirely. You’re going to leave your headphones on the counter, for starters. You’re going to walk slowly and deliberately. You’re going to be aware of the strength at the center of your body, the way this power holds your bones together, and the way your muscles lay over your bones. You’re going to pay attention to the various sensations at play beneath your skin and the feeling of the environment as you move through it. You’re going to use ALL FIVE SENSES, which isn’t something you do all that often.
And, even though you’ve given yourself quite a bit to do, your mind is definitely going to wander. This is fine! It’s the whole point, actually. When it does, bring your thoughts back to what’s happening right now—the sound of the birds in the trees, the feel of the sun on your skin, the slow spread of calm throughout your body. We promise: it gets easier.
3. Mindful Munchies
How many times a week do you eat at your desk or in your car, or even while walking from one room to another? No judgment, regardless of the answer; we live in a culture that glorifies the idea of being busy, and it’s easy for eating to become just another chore to cross off the list. But here’s the thing: food is delicious. Even though its primary job is to nourish your cells and help you maintain a healthy body, there’s a lot to enjoy about eating.
So the next time you’re hungry (but not too hungry), try this: prepare a simple, balanced meal. While you’re making it, think about where each ingredient came from. Picture the farmer watering and harvesting those fresh vegetables and the happy cows who created the milk so that the artisan could culture that amazing cheese. Craft your meal with a variety of colors, flavors, and textures—then eat slowly and gratefully, without the distraction of your phone or the TV. This is mindful eating, and it’s known to improve digestion and increase pleasure.
4. Share the Love
Anger Monkey or Resentment Rhesus got your banana today? Those guys are terrible—no matter how much you feed ‘em, it’s never enough! For those days (and every day, really), we suggest loving-kindness, or metta, meditation. Wait! Before you clang the “woo-woo” bell and return to your mindless busyness, hear us out. This stuff really works.
Start in a comfortable seated position and take a few slow, focused breaths. Notice the air moving around your heart, and experience the sensation of it opening to what’s coming. We’re starting with YOU because it’s impossible to love others if you can’t be compassionate with yourself! Repeat a simple self-love mantra like “I am enough” slowly and silently, ten times.
Next, focus your loving-kindness meditation on a specific loved one. Hold an image of this person (or pet, obvi) in your mind, as you repeat a short mantra like “you are loved” calmly in your mind, also ten times. Notice the warmth that floods your body, and give it space to spread. Now, expand that sentiment to include the entire universe. We love the ol’ Sanskrit standby: loka samastha sukhino bhavantu, which means “may all beings everywhere be happy and free.” If Sanskrit feels funky, use English! The universe will hear you either way.
5. Slather the Love
We said you could start small, and we meant it! If you’re totally new to mindfulness practice and all of this self-lovey-dovey stuff makes you feel a little self-conscious, that’s cool. It’s for folks just like you that we created Tru Alchemy—mindfully crafted products designed to help you transform your daily skincare regimen into a delightful skincare ritual.
I mean, you’re gonna wash your face later, right? And then moisturize? Like a grown-up? You are! So tonight, instead of rushing through the process like you’re taking out the trash, try this approach instead. Dim the lights. Spark a scented candle. Warm up the water, and put on some chill tunes. Then, instead of hastily scrubbing the day off your face, work up a frothy, fragrant lather with our Celestial Cleanser. Use your fingertips to gently release the bonds of makeup, dirt, oil...and while you’re at it, any negativity you gathered today! Let it go.
For more ways to nourish your skin and your soul, unleash your inner alchemist here.