5 Five Minute Meditation Practices
For millennia, meditation has been a cornerstone of mental and physical well-being. Yet, it’s only recently that western medicine has started paying attention to all the benefits. Only a few studies are out there—but most are very, very positive.
We already see clinical signs that meditation can lower blood pressure in children dealing with hypertension. That it eases anxiety in cancer patients, gives them a greater quality of life. That it even makes you less likely to get the flu or to suffer irritable bowel syndrome attacks.
Those are just some examples of research recently completed. But, long before we had double-blind studies, the benefits of meditation were obvious to all who practiced it. Before we had diagnoses for depression or anxiety, meditation has been soothing jangled nerves. Before we had to rediscover the link between mind and body, the practice of meditation was healing both.
Yet few of us are ever going to spend years atop a mountain, or in a cave, contemplating the deepest questions of the universe. Most of us won’t ever have a ten-day meditation retreat—let alone make a habit of it.
Indeed—most of us have trouble finding an hour a day to dedicate to ourselves, no matter how beneficial that hour might be.
That’s why it’s so important to find time for meditation where we can. Even if that means taking it in five-minute spurts (just five minutes every day can make a huge, beneficial impact).
Today, I want to take a look at five different techniques for grabbing five minutes of meditation, in the middle of the busiest workday.
Remember these. Write them down. And make at least one of them a habit.
Because we know meditation is the key to much of health, and much of happiness, as well. It would be a pity not to use it.
1. Take a hike
Walking in nature is so relaxing, you are almost automatically put into a meditative state.
Just take the extra little step to get yourself all the way there.
First, of course, pick a spot. You don’t need an Alpine path to find nature—no matter where you live, you can always find something nearby.
If you’re unsure where to go, just listen for the sounds of nature—the bird songs, the scurrying squirrels. Follow that. You might find yourself in your back yard, in a city park, or on a peaceful playground.
Once you’ve found your patch, distant from the thrum of traffic or the buzz of electricity, breathe deep. And give yourself permission to think about nothing for five minutes.
Set a timer, if you like—that helps many people create a frame around a time when you don’t need to think about your upcoming schedule, or how to deal with the latest work or family crisis.
Instead of mulling on problems or conundrums, just walk. Think of being in the moment, paying attention to exactly what’s going on around and inside of you, and focus on the sound of your breath.
Do that for five minutes, and head back into your day feeling refreshed and revitalized.
2. Ground yourself
I’ve talked before about the power of grounding yourself—of touching your bare skin to the earth.
The theory involved here is that positive ions—also known as free radicals—build up in your body, and they are best released through contact with a negative grounding surface, like the earth.
You don’t have to believe that to know how good grass feels on bare feet, or how free it feels to lay down in a field.
Grounding is another fabulous way to connect to the earth, and to nature—and, consequently, to meditate.
So find yourself a patch of grass, or earth. Sit there with your feet touching the ground, or lay there so your entire body makes contact.
Again, set a timer. And give yourself permission to think about the sensation of earth on your skin and the experience you are having. And breathe.
In this artificial world we’ve built up, you might not often get the chance to feel these natural surfaces. Take advantage—and think what it must have been like before all the concrete and asphalt.
Take five minutes to sink back into nature. You’ll notice the difference in yourself immediately.
Noticing a common theme here? If you really can’t get out into nature—or you just prefer to do your meditation at home or in the office—nothing beats the classic breath meditation.
It’s really very easy to do. Just sit comfortably somewhere. Keep your back straight and aligned, but not rigid. Close your eyes, or half-close them.
Now, breathe in and out, slowly and evenly, through your nose, counting your breaths from one to ten and back again. That’s it.
Try not to let other thoughts intrude. This isn’t the time to plan out dinner. But if outside thoughts show up, recognize them and then refocus on your breath.
It takes practice, so be patient with yourself. If you want, pay attention to the physical sensation of breath entering and exiting your body, but that’s about as deep as you should go.
When your five minutes are up, feel free to enter right back into your day. Although if you want to keep on meditating, that certainly won’t hurt.
4. Try some yoga
Most people know that yoga comes out of spiritual, meditative practices, but few people think about that when they’re doing it, or connect in that way.
But there’s no doubt yoga, done mindfully, is one of the more meditative activities around. So combine your mental health with your physical in a direct fashion, and use yoga to meditate.
Now, five minutes might not be enough time to get your blood pumping, or a good aerobic sweat going. But it’s more than enough time to still your mind.
So find a quiet, out of the way spot. Pick a few favorite yoga poses, or use guided yoga poses from YouTube or an app on your phone.
Then spend five minutes going through those poses, paying attention to how your body feels doing those poses, and how you feel in relationship to the room, the building, and the world—again, trying not to let your everyday worries intrude. Those thoughts have all the rest of your day to say whatever they like—these five minutes are yours, not theirs.
5. Say a mantra
Some people really like having a mantra to say during the day.
Not a personal saying or belief—but a spiritual mantra, like “Om mani padme hum,” which has been said by spiritual speakers for millennia.
The purpose of a mantra is to give your brain something to focus on, other than your usual chattering thoughts. It can be anything—literally anything—though the more calming the words or sounds, the better.
Practice sitting still and repeating your mantra to yourself for five minutes each day.
As you get practiced at this, you might find that you can call on your mantra, and repeat it in the background whenever you feel stressed or troubled.
But don’t worry about that during your five-minute respite. All you need do is get comfortable, and say your mantra over and over, out loud or in your head, however you’re comfortable.
You might notice—the most important thing in all these meditative practices is to turn off the nagging voice inside your head, and give yourself a break from your worries. It’s little wonder that meditation proves so beneficial, when it helps shut off the pressures of the world, even if only for a short time.
The benefits of meditation are undeniable. They’re easily worth five minutes of your time. And once you’ve mastered five minutes, you can compound the benefits by working up to ten minutes…then 15…then 20. You see where this is going.
- Rabin, Roni Caryn. Ask Well: The Health Benefits of Meditation. The New York Times. Published Nov 10, 2015. Accessed Oct 16, 2016.
- Braime, Hannah. The 5-Minute Guide To Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime. Lifehack. Accessed 0ct 16, 2016.
- Klein, Karin. 5 Minute Meditation Exercises. Lifescript. Published Mar 20, 2015. Accessed Oct 16, 2016.
Last Updated: August 16, 2018
Originally Published: November 9, 2016