Even if you don’t have time for a dedicated ‘Om’ session – or maybe sitting in stillness actually creates, instead of eases, anxiety — mindful minis will help you nab the practice’s biggest benefits.
WTF is Micro Meditation?
Meditation is the ultimate multitasker, the health version of the pressure cooker. It clears your mind, may help lower blood pressure and relieve depression and anxiety, and could even reduce the severity of IBS symptoms. And you don’t need to convert your guest room into a crystal-adorned Zen Den to get these benefits. You can focus your mind on the present anytime — during a workout, at happy hour with friends, or even while brushing your teeth. Really, it’s this easy: Just home in on what you see, hear, smell, and feel. Take these 15 opportunities to sneak in a jolt of mindfulness, even during the craziest of days.
1/ When Your Alarm Goes Off
Trade the obnoxious beeping of your current wake-up call for relaxing music or a gentler sound like wind chimes. When you rouse, stay in bed for at least two minutes and soak in the sounds around you (the birds chirping outside your window, the AC humming), the feel of the sheets on your body, and the smell of freshly brewed coffee.
2/ Putting On Make-Up
Think of each stroke of the brush, swipe of mascara, or pass of the lipstick as a single activity. Breaking down your beauty routine in this way can help focus your brain before it’s inundated with a day’s worth of work deadlines.
3/ While Cooking
As you stir or chop, notice the rhythm of the spoon or knife. Inhale the scents of the dish you’re whipping up. People who get into creative activities like cooking report feeling calmer and happier the next day.
4/ In The Car
You need to be in a heightened state of focus and awareness when you’re behind the wheel (distracted driving causes up to 8000 crashes a day), so why not tune into the present moment even further? Turn off the music and breathe deeply as you notice the often rhythmic sounds your car makes as you motor down the road, and the vibration of the engine throughout the vehicle.
5/ When You’re On Hold
If the prompt says you have a 10-minute wait for the next customer service rep, don’t spend the time plotting your I-want-my-money-back rant. Practice four-square breathing: Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of four, breathe out for a count of four, hold that for a count of four, and then start again.
6/ On A Run
Focus on your muscles and their movements. Mindful exercising can “put you in the zone,” the mental state that sparks peak performance.
7/ At Bedtime
Mentally scan your body from toes to scalp, noting every sensation; if distracting thoughts sneak in, refocus on the body. This clears the clutter in your mind and physically relaxes you, so it’s easier to fall asleep.