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.
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.
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.