Women are moving ahead at a faster pace than ever in the workforce. As of 2015, about 70 percent of women with children under age 18 were in the workforce. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that in 1975, only 47.4 percent of mothers with children under the age of 18 were in the workforce. Women have made great strides both personally and professionally.
However, women still tend to put others’ needs above their own and, in the process, put pressure on themselves to make life better for all those around them at the expense of their own happiness and peace of mind.
I hear so many women with families struggle with one challenge in particular — they love being a mom, they have a strong marriage or partnership, they have successful careers … and yet they feel unhappy, unfulfilled or overburdened without a way to clear the mental clutter.
One easy way to clear mental clutter and regain balance is through meditation. Sometimes people make meditation sound complicated — like you need to go into the mountains and practice for years. I don’t think it needs to be that hard. I have a very simple exercise I give my clients to help them easily access a meditative state. There are essentially two steps:
- Repeated focus on a word, sound, phrase or object. Or you can simply choose to focus on your breathing.
- Gently release any chatter that crosses your mind and continue focusing on the word, sound, phrase or your breathing.
That’s it. Easy, right? Practice is helpful. I recommend starting with five minutes a day, working up to 10 minutes to 20 minutes per day. Research shows that even 10 minutes of meditation per day has a helpful effect on your brain and promotes calmness.
Decide for yourself what the perfect amount of time is. See how you feel after five minutes and go from there. It’s about what feels right to you, focusing on balance and understanding the importance of taking care of yourself.