No Time (or Room) to Meditate? Try Meditating in the Shower
You’ll wonder why you never thought of it before.
If you’ve been spending too much time around your family during quarantine, or even if you’re just stressed and pressed for time in general, meditation can be an amazing way to comfort and center yourself. One tiny problem: It can be hard to find time to meditate. But there’s one inherently private and soothing moment of your day that might just be the perfect time to give mindfulness meditation a try—the shower.
Since taking a shower and meditating are both calming, mood-lifting parts of the day, why not use shower hour to get clean and practice mindfulness? With this logic in mind, Shauna Shapiro, PhD, a clinical psychologist, recommends combining these two calming self-care habits.
“Four decades of research demonstrate the beneficial effects of meditation practice,” says Shapiro. “From strengthening your immune system, to lengthening telomeres, to improving your sleep.”
That’s right, it’s time to start thinking of the shower as luxurious personal time to find your calm before (or after) taking on the day. Shapiro argues her best case for giving shower meditation a try, plus easy tips to help you find your zen behind closed shower doors.
1. You’re truly alone.
Shapiro notes that the shower is the optimal place to start a meditation practice for a number of reasons. “It’s a time when you’re alone and away from distractions,” she says. If you have young kids who never leave your side, for example, or even if you find yourself super busy and running around all day long, it’s the perfect time to clear your head.
2. You engage with all the senses.
Shapiro also calls out the 360 sensory experience of the shower—and a huge part of mindfulness is intentional awareness of all the senses (yes, even taste—it’s hard to avoid getting water in your mouth). Shapiro says the acute use of five senses “helps bring you into the present moment.”
3. If you have time to shower, you have time to meditate.
People often cite not having enough time as the reason they can’t practice meditation. But a shower meditation can (hopefully) fit into your schedule no matter how much time you have. Whether your shower is three minutes or 15 minutes, spend that time “focusing your attention in the present moment with an attitude of kindness and curiosity,” Shapiro says. To help you find focus, think about what’s motivating you to try a mindfulness practice. “It could be to decrease stress or for greater clarity and peace,” Shapiro says.
4. There's no “right way” to do it.
“Meditation in the shower can look different for different people,” Shapiro says. “The most important thing is to develop a practice that feels right to you. For some, this may include closing your eyes (but be careful!), for others it will include listening to guided meditations.”
Even if you don’t follow a formal, guided meditation (because that’s not always realistic on a busy day), you can still develop and practice small mindful habits while you cleanse. Try simply keeping your primary focus on your breath—maybe notice how it’s not perfect and steady (whose is in the shower, anyway?). Or each time you hop in the shower, choose to concentrate on one of the five senses: Narrow in how the soap feels on your skin one time, the subtle notes of fragrance in your shampoo another time, and the rushing sound of the water the next.
Shapiro encourages you to avoid aiming for perfection. If one of your kids or spouse pops their head into the bathroom to ask a question, don’t discount the time you spent being mindful. It’s a practice, and the more time you spend working on it, the more beneficial it will be.
Want some guidance getting started? Shapiro designed some guided shower meditations to help you customize your next shower meditation with intention, whether it’s to boost confidence, spark energy, or chill out after a long day.