While extended meditation has its benefits, you can also boost your mindfulness with brief breaks of a few minutes or less. Try these tips for calming your mind even on your busiest days.
Brief Meditations: How to Do It
- Focus on your breath. Pay attention to your breath as it enters and leaves your nostrils. Follow its path up and down your body. Notice how your abdomen and chest rise and fall when you inhale and exhale deeply.
- Scan your body. Search for areas of tension. Massage your stiff shoulders or hands as you imagine your breath warming and healing them.
- Observe your thoughts. Check out what’s on your mind without making judgements. Let your mind slow down. Do this by “breathing into” them. Just like we can calm our bodies with breath, we can calm our minds as well.
- Embrace your feelings. You can meditate when you’re feeling content or dealing with major stress. Remember that your emotions are temporary and you decide how to respond to any situation.
- Watch closely. Lock your eyes onto a chosen object. Pick a candle with a flickering flame or a tree bough swaying in the breeze.
- Chant out loud. Fill your mind with a spiritual mantra or an inspiring saying of your own. Affirmations or simple statements like, “I release” or “I surrender” can work well. Whatever you pick, repeat it at least 3 times.
- Reach out and touch. Many religions use beads to count prayers and maybe even avoid falling asleep. Try wearing a bracelet or holding a charm in your palm as a trigger to bring your mind back to a beautiful and wholesome state.
- Adjust your commute. Look forward to red lights. Use traffic signals and stop signs as a reminder to breathe.
- Take a break during meetings. You can stay up to date with your mind at office meetings the same way you check on phone calls and text messages. Ask yourself how you’re feeling while you’re looking to see if a client responded to your last message.
- Intensify your workouts. Connect with your mind as you build up your body. Meditate for a few minutes on the treadmill or at the swimming pool.
- Connect with your partner. Make a date with your spouse. Mediate together for a few minutes each morning or before bed.
- Bond with your kids. Mindfulness exercises can be especially beneficial for children. Make your sessions fun by keeping them short and simple. Throw in some yoga poses, singing, and visualizations that will appeal to your child’s imagination.
- Line up. Your daily life is probably full of long lines. Next time you’re queuing up for a blockbuster movie or rushing to mail a last-minute present at the post office, remember that meditation will help you pass the time without losing your spot.
- Skip commercials. Do you enjoy watching 30 seconds of advertising before you can watch the video you clicked on? Hit the mute button, and enjoy the silence that surrounds you.
- Consume consciously. Do you automatically reach for a donut or a margarita after a rough day? On the other hand, maybe you try to soothe yourself with a little retail therapy. Meditation could be a healthier and less expensive response to stress.