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Spa days. Retreats. Elixirs. There are plenty of expensive ways to give your body a zap of wellness and a good dose of me-time. However, one way that is completely free and accessible to everyone is meditation. You can meditate anywhere, even when you only have a few minutes to do so. And the benefits of meditation – both for physical health and mental health – have been well documented. A study from the University of Florida found that participants who meditated intensely for eight days saw a significant boost to their immune system. Another study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that meditation can help reduce cravings for junk food.

And in addition to being a tenet of me-time, meditation has also been shown to fight inflammation, aging and depression and a slew of other issues that the Journal of Racial Ethnic Health Disparities reports are more common in Black women. But, you likely already knew that. Maybe your problem isn’t recognizing the powers of meditation but, instead, finding the time to do it. In our busy society, it can certainly be a challenge to take just a few moments to ourselves. If you’re trying to figure out how to get essential me-time–meditate more, here are some easy tips.


Arrive 10 Minutes Early

Young woman sits in car learns how to meditate

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Make a point to arrive a few minutes early to wherever you’re going. Once you’re parked, take those few extra moments to meditate. There might be times you didn’t even mean to arrive so early, and you can take the opportunity to sneak in a longer meditation. Cars are well sound-proofed and make great meditation zones. If you don’t want people to see you, just recline your chair and meditate in a lying-down position.


Get Up A Little Earlier

Young woman sitting on her bed and meditating in the morning

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If you have kids or simply a hectic household, then once you get up in the morning, finding alone time can be difficult. But people will (usually) respect if you are still in bed. So wake up a few minutes earlier and do a quick meditation before getting out of bed. This is actually the perfect time to meditate because your mind is still calm from a night’s sleep and thoughts about the day haven’t fully intruded yet.


Do It On Public Transit

Diverse serious people in city commuting by metro line. Woman listening to podcast and checking mail on smart phone

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Tips on how to meditate often involve fancy Zen rooms or yoga studios, but the core ideas behind meditation are about finding calm anywhere – including in crowded spaces. So if you take the bus or train to work every day, that can actually be an ideal time to meditate. Invest in some good noise-cancelling headphones. You can put them on and meditate in silence, or you can play calming music, or soothing sounds like ocean or rain sounds.


Do It In The Office Bathroom

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When office life gets overwhelming and a coworker is on your last nerve, take a quick bathroom break. Maybe it isn’t time to take lunch but you can always pop into a bathroom stall for a few minutes and do a rapid meditation. Even just a few minutes of intentional breathing exercises have been found to calm the nervous system.


Try It While Waiting In Line

Smiling woman making contactless payment for the purchase in supermarket

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For those super busy bees (looking at you moms), maybe the only time you get to stand still is when you’re standing in line at the grocery store or sitting in the waiting area of the pharmacy. You can meditate here. You don’t even have to close your eyes. Just focus on your breath. Take controlled breaths, counting in for four seconds, holding for four seconds and breathing out for four seconds. Do this for as long as you can.


Download An App

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If you’re having a hard time getting started and don’t know how to meditate, there are a lot of apps to help with that. MADAMENOIRE reviews a couple on our list of workout and wellness apps. Many apps are free or cost just a couple of dollars and give you access to thousands of guided meditations from various mindfulness gurus. You can often filter for meditation type, benefit, male or female voice, music or no music and time frame.


Be Flexible About Time Frames

The woman relaxes

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Speaking of time frames, be flexible about yours. If you only have three minutes to meditate, that’s fine – it’s much better than nothing. Don’t tell yourself that you’ll only meditate when you have a 20-minute window. Sometimes you will have that long window, and that’s great, but sometimes you won’t, and a short meditation can still be immensely helpful.


Don’t Panic If You Miss A Day

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It’s okay if you miss a day. Like with any new habit – from exercising to eating right – missing one day doesn’t mean you should quit the entire pursuit. Missing one day doesn’t mean you can’t pick it up tomorrow. Just be easy on yourself and remember that building a new habit takes time.