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Last Updated on February 11, 2019

The 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime

The 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime

Stressed?

Overwhelmed?

Tired?

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Distracted?

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.

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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.

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.

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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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Hannah Braime

Hannah is a coach who believes the world is a richer place when we have the courage to be fully self-expressed.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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