7 Mini-Meditations and Quick Mental Workouts
The benefits of meditation are well-known and well-researched. Most people know that if they were to meditate every day, they'd have less stress, greater health, blah blah blah.
But you don't have time to meditate, right? And besides, if you're like me, you'd just get distracted and by the time you get to the second chakra, you've already thought about the bills, your child's grades, the this or the that that needs to be fixed or cleaned...
So, you might be saying something like, "Nope, sorry. I know it's really good for me, but I just don't see me be able to commit 30 minutes every day of my life."
But what if you don't need a solid 30 minutes? What if you could squeeze in 10-20 seconds, or a minute or two here or there throughout your day and STILL reap the benefits of meditation?
Here are 7 mini-meditations that can be done most anywhere at anytime. Practice these and you'll notice a very subtle positive change over time. In six months from now, you'll think back on this time and be quite pleasantly surprised by how things have changed for the better.
But first, we need to build on a few ideas...
What is Meditation?
Whenever we become completely absorbed in an activity involving either physical effort or passive contemplation, we enter an altered state of consciousness. Meditation is the process of deliberately entering this altered state.
In all forms of meditation, there are two fundamental keys:
- Some sort of mental focus
So, as you do each of these, it is essential that you take frequent deep breaths. And often a deep breath is enough, but occasionally you want to mentally let that breath slowly move through your entire body.
1. The Classic 3-2-1 Squeeze and Release Technique
It is important to say or think the numbers. Each time, focus on a different part of the body.
On 3: Take in a deep breath and hold it.
On 2: Tense up all or portion of your body. Hold it, make it more tense.
On 1: Release tension as you exhale.
This is quite possibly the quickest, most noticeable way to achieve a more relaxed state. And it can be done anywhere. You do NOT have to go through the entire body if you do not have time. Sometimes, all it takes is to tense up your arms, hands, and chest, and then after you let that relaxation mentally flow down and through your body, you're just a bit more relaxed and more able to focus on the task at hand.
2. Chew your food very thoroughly and mindfully
If you do this consistently, don't be surprised if you start losing weight and start feeling better in general. Do it for just a week. You'll notice a change for the better.
3. Look around the room and each time SLOWLY notice 10 things:
- Edges or corners
- Empty spaces BETWEEN
- 10 items of a particular color
As you notice these, take in a deep, contemplative breath every two or three. This shouldn't take more than a minute. After just ONE MINUTE, you will feel a difference.
4. Notice all the sounds in the world around you. Just LISTEN.
- Breathe after every two or three.
- Move that sound into the center of your being and then with a deep breath, let it expand and slowly fill your body.
- Become fascinated with nature
- Sit and close your eyes and just listen to the wind. Let it eventually resonate with your body.
- Very slowly and thoroughly notice the details of a tree, a leaf, the ocean, to give but three examples. (Remember: always take that occasional deep breath and take the experience inside your body-mind.)
5. Walking Meditation
At home, the office, while shopping, anywhere... walk mindfully:
- Become acutely aware of the sensations from the feet; beginning with the heal all the way to the toe, even the lightness in the air.
- Move your focus to the legs and the rest of your body. How many muscle groups are affected by simply walking.
- Notice the specifics as to how you keep your balance. Imagine that you had to explain to someone who's never walked before how they are supposed to move each part, how you need to shift your weight, how you determine the speed of your movement. Be mindful of everything.
- Or observe the thoughts as they come and go. Don’t get caught up in them. Simply observe.
- If you're with an infant (or alone where none can hear), give a tour of your world; describe everything, what it looks like or what purpose it serves. Just let your mind go and just flow with whatever enters.
6. In moments of Panic or Anxiety
- Notice five objects that are fluffy, soft, or furry - and then come back to your breath
- Slowly observe six signs or labels of any type - and then come back to your breath
- Find seven circles or spherical objects - and then come back to your breath
7. Connect with Things or People
- Breathe in first, and tune in to your own body. Let your awareness go in, down, and through.
- Touch something (or someone) and imagine an exchange of energy flowing from the center of your being, through your arms, into the object (or person), and then as you inhale for a deep breathe, feel that energy flowing back into you.
- Enjoy and appreciate the connection.
* * *
As you practice these, you will soon reap the benefits of the standard prolonged meditation. You will also soon develop an ability to almost instantly relax or calm yourself in any given situation.
And with this ability, don't be surprised that you begin to experience benefits and improvements in other aspects of your life.
Live in peace.