Meditation has many wonderful benefits (and you can read about the benefits of meditation here.) However, many people don’t try meditation because they believe it’s difficult to practice, or only effective with regular, lengthy sessions. Not true! You can receive the biggest gains from meditation with frequent practice, but just 5 minutes of meditation actually can bring quick stress relief. So if you only have 5 minutes for meditation, here’s how to make them count:
Time Required: 5 Minutes!
- Set a timer for 5 minutes, so you can relax and not worry about staying in meditation for ‘too long’, missing appointments. (If you have an iPhone, the Healing Music application can be used as a timer.)
- Close your eyes and relax. Take a few deep breaths from your diaphragm and release the tension in your body. (See this article on breathing exercises for more on how to do this quickly.)
- Clear your mind of thoughts. Rather than focusing on ‘thinking of nothing’, focus on ‘being’, and when thoughts enter your mind, gently acknowledge them and let them go, returning your focus to the present moment again.
- Continue this for 5 minutes, and return to your day feeling more relaxed and refreshed. Try this meditation regularly, and you should feel less stressed overall.
- Be sure you’re in a comfortable position; little nagging discomforts like scratchy clothes or an awkward sitting position can be a distraction from meditation.
- Don’t get too focused on whether or not you’re ‘doing it right’. (This can actually make meditation more stressful!) Thoughts may often enter your head; the process of redirecting your focus to the present moment is where the benefit comes.
- Playing meditation music or using aromatherapy can enhance your practice. They aren’t necessary, but they can add to your experience if you can conveniently incorporate them.
- Meditation has been used for both short-term calming (it can reverse your stress response pretty quickly) and long-term resilience (regular practice can help you become less reactive to stress!), so frequent meditation is a wonderful and effective stress management tool.
- For best results, try to fit in longer meditation sessions (like 20 minutes or more) a few times per week. Then, you will be more practiced with meditation in general, and these 5 minute sessions will have more of an impact when you need them!