Getting caught at red lights, traffic jams and in queues can be a challenge for many of us.
We are often in a rush with the need to be somewhere and this unexpected delay makes us feel, irritated, frustrated and perhaps even angry.
Being delayed presents us with an opportunity to stop and pay attention to our experience, to check in and be mindful of all that is going on within us.
So the next time you find yourself stuck at a red light, in a traffic jam or even caught in a queue try viewing this as a signal to stop and pay attention.
An Opportunity to Breathe
Tune into your breath.
We often default to shallow, fast breathing which can contribute to feelings of anxiety, frustration and irritation when caught in traffic or queues.
Transfer your awareness to your breath for a moment and encourage the breath to transition to a slower, deeper rhythm. Perhaps even switch to breathing through your nose if you notice you have been breathing through your mouth.
Time to Engage Mindfulness
Bring your awareness now to your physical body. Are you tense or are you clutching the steering wheel or shopping bags with shoulders tight, neck stiff and teeth clenched?
Be totally aware of all aspects of your body as you respond to this unexpected delay.
A Moment to Relax
Encourage the awareness of your breath to bring relaxation to your body.
Soften your grip on the steering wheel, or your shopping bags. Become aware of the texture of the material within your hands rather than the pressure of your grip. Consciously relax your shoulders allowing them to drop away from your ears. Release the tension in your neck and spine and with mindfulness, unclench your jaw.
If you are caught in traffic, notice the support of the seat in which you sit and allow your body to relax into the support beneath you.
If you are standing in a queue, be conscious of the support your body provides you as you wait to be served. Be thankful for the physical support your skeleton and muscles provide.
Encourage your awareness to tune into the scene around you. Become aware of people, smells and sounds that are in the immediate environment.
Be fully present.
Finally, give thanks for this opportunity to stop and pay attention. Rather than being an obstacle, your delay has been a fabulous opportunity to tune into yourself and your surroundings and become more aware.
When the universe says stop, it means stop. Take every opportunity granted you to lead a more mindful and present life.
Angelique is a devoted meditation guide and aspiring yoga teacher with an insatiable desire to learn, grow and empower herself and others through meditation, self-awareness and yogic practices.
Her belief is that each of us hold within us an abundance of tools and resources that are readily accessible at any time to help us navigate the challenges of life. All we need to do is to become aware of them, learn how to access them and actively engage them at the times we need them most.