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The 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime

The 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime

Stressed?

Overwhelmed?

Tired?

Distracted?

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Sounds like you need five minutes of meditation.

When you think of meditation, you might think of chanting in the lotus position, listening to chimes, connecting with your third eye, or various other cliches associated with this practice.

In reality, all you need to meditate is yourself.

Meditation can take a lot of different forms, but in this guide to meditation, we’re going to talk about the kind of practice that allows you to re-connect with yourself mentally, emotionally and physically. This kind of meditation helps us to relax, calms stress and anxiety, and gives us a few moments of much-needed peace. You don’t need any fancy equipment, and you don’t even need a quiet environment (although that will help); it’s the perfect way to recharge during a busy day.

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1. Set a timer  

Meditation and clock-watching don’t exactly go hand-in-hand, so set a timer on your phone or computer. Ideally, you’ll be setting it for five minutes—enough time to take a break without being missed—but the exact length of time is up to you. It doesn’t matter if you meditate for 30 seconds or 5 minutes: just choose a time that feels right.

2. Ground yourself

This exercise is most effective when you can either sit or lie down to replenish your energy. It doesn’t matter where you choose to do this, as long as the location is comfortable enough for your five-minute meditation. If you choose to sit, you can either place yourself on the ground cross-legged, or sit on a chair with your feet firmly rooted and in contact with the ground.

3. Check your posture

Slouching isn’t known for it’s revitalising properties, so take a moment to check your posture before you begin. If you’re sitting, try to keep your back as straight as possible, without tensing up. Make sure your shoulders, neck and jaw are relaxed, and do a quick mental scan over the rest of your body to check for any pockets of tension.

4. Decide on the eyes

While meditating, you can keep your eyes closed or open. If you have a private space, you might prefer to close them; if you’re sitting in the middle of a busy office, however, you might prefer to keep them open. When meditating with your eyes open, find one point about three feet in front of you and focus on that throughout the meditation (you can also stare at a single point on the base of your computer if this helps you meditate unnoticed at work). Whether you choose eyes closed or open, stick with that method throughout the meditation.

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5. Focus on the breath

Start your timer and bring your focus on your breathing. Don’t try to change your breathing or adopt any pattern that feels unnatural (you’re going to be doing this for up to five minutes so your breath needs to be sustainable). Simply notice how your breathing feels right now: is it particularly shallow or uneven? Can you find a way to breathe deeply and regularly that feels natural?

6. Notice your attention

Your biggest block to your five-minute meditation will be yourself—or, more specifically, your mind. Once you start focusing on your breath, your mind will sense a gap in your thoughts, and will try to plug it as quickly as possible with more thoughts. If you notice yourself getting caught up in a train of thought, simply bring your attention back to your breath. It doesn’t matter how many times this happens (and it will get easier with practice); each time you notice yourself running away with thoughts and stories, simply return to the breath and focus on each inhale and exhale until your timer goes off.

And that’s it: no complicated visualisations, no chanting, simply a chance to connect with yourself. Set a time, find a place, check your posture, focus on your breath, and enjoy five well-deserved minutes to yourself.

 

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Do you have any tips for an effective 5-minute meditation? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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