“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t, pays it.” ~ Albert Einstein
Imagine that you have a goal of learning to speak Italian because you want to have a retirement or holiday home on the Amalfi coast and want to converse with the locals.
You’re a busy professional, and finding time to listen to audio tapes is hard, so you decide that you’re going to devote half of every Saturday to learning the language.
At first, this seems like a workable plan. It feels like immersion into the language and you’re enthusiastic, but then one weekend you’re invited to go camping with friends, and you have no time for your lesson.
Two weeks later, you’re back at it but already feeling rusty. A bit of frustration sneaks in. And of course, life gets in the way. Some weekends you manage to squeeze in your lesson, but instead of devoting a half-day you’re now down to two or three hours a weekend. There’s so much to do on the weekend! Your progress becomes frustratingly slow, and that makes you even less motivated.
Can you guess what will happen eventually?
Now imagine if you committed to creating a habit of studying Italian every single day, for only 15 minutes. At first it’s hard to find the time but in a few days you realize that you can easily give up some TV watching and do your Italian just before bed – which is actually a great time to study, if you’re not too tired, because then your mind has all night to “digest” what you’ve learnt.
After a week or so, you get into the rhythm and you start to notice that even though you can’t necessarily get through an entire lesson in 15 minutes, you are making better progress because it’s always fresh in your mind, you are spending nearly 3 hours a week on your Italian studies and most importantly, it’s not disrupting your routine.
Like learning, physical fitness is cumulative but only if it is consistently repeated. If you exercise only on weekends (like many people) you will never be as fit as someone who exercises for 10-15 minutes every day. Not only that, but sporadic exercise actually makes you prone to injury because your muscles aren’t used to being stressed, and once injured, many people quit altogether for fear of it happening again. Creating the habit of moving your body will lead to faster and much more satisfying results than occasional “when I can” exercise.
The benefits of meditation are cumulative too. You can find 15 minutes a day (or 10) to practice every day without “making time” for it. If you think about when you might have a ‘spare’ 10 minutes, you will come up with a consistent practice that works for you.
Here are some ideas for fitting a meditation micro-practice into your schedule:
Very first thing in the morning, while still in bed if you want (or in a special meditation space that’s got more of a ritual feel to it).
Waking up 15 minutes early to meditate is a fabulously effective practice because your mind is not very chatty when you first wake up and you’ll find that getting into a meditative state will usually happen very quickly. Don’t worry about missing out on sleep. Meditation is so relaxing, and your body will appreciate the “focused rest.” One word of caution: use a gentle alarm clock, not a shrill one that jars you awake and can even trigger a stress response. Nature sounds or a clock that uses light, are better options. Morning meditation is a great way to set the tone for the day.
Just before bed. What a lovely way to induce sleepiness, and end the day on a positive note! Meditating on gratitude will help you pull your attention away from your worries and give you a more restful sleep.
You can meditate anywhere you like, with LifeFlow because you aren’t tied down to using headphones. Meditate in bed if you want to use it as a sleep aid, otherwise in your favourite meditation spot.
At lunch. Most people have about 30 minutes for lunch, which is plenty of time to eat and slip away to a quiet spot for a short meditation. This can help you shift your mood if you’re having a stressful day and can help you be more focused throughout the afternoon. And, meditation will spark creativity, enhanced learning and concentration so you’re more productive.
On breaks. Taking 10 minutes mid-morning and mid-afternoon to unplug from work, will help productivity. For best results to keep your energy high, do a walking meditation! No need to sit if you’ve been sitting all day – step outside and get some fresh air, and walk briskly and mindfully for 10 minutes. Unplugging from work helps with problem solving: visualize the end result, and let your mind figure things out!
Can you see how easy it is to fit a 10-15 minute meditation into your daily routine?
If you can only manage 10 minutes a day, this accumulates to 5 whole hours in a month… inch by inch, it’s a cinch to experience the many wonderful benefits of meditation!
As meditation changes your brain, some remarkable things happen. Your mental functioning will improve… this includes whole-brain synchronization, enhanced creativity, improved memory recall and accelerated learning.
Emotionally you will become calmer and happier, more resilient and you’ll be able to self-regulate with mastery.
Best of all, these changes are cumulative, and permanent unlike learning a language (which you can forget) and building muscle fitness (which can be undone quite easily) the effects of meditation can’t be undone. You can only build on them!