I meditate every day, and I mean every day; not because I love it or because I have all the time and in the world to sit in silence; I meditate because if I didn’t, the emotionally eventful year that is 2020 would have taken me down months ago. I need meditation to wake me up in the morning, put me to sleep at night and to help keep me calm, centered and filled with gratitude during times of both peace and chaos. And I have to admit, this routine has changed my life.
Although I’ve practiced yoga for over a decade, experiencing my fair share of mindful movement and chanting, I’ve never had a consistent and effective daily meditation practice until recently. In past attempts at dipping my toe in the meditation pool, it seemed that eventually I would find myself riddled with excuses as to why I didn’t have the time or patience to meditate. If this sounds like you, then I have to hit you with some truth: you are wrong and everyone has time to meditate; no matter how many kids you have, work assignments to complete, meals to cook, rooms to clean or groceries to shop, your to-do list isn’t going anywhere, and it’s vital to your wellness that you carve out a few minutes for just you each day.
(Before you guilt yourself into thinking it’s selfish, consider meditation an investment that benefits not only your own well-being, but also those around you. When you feel good and are balanced and content, you can more easily and effectively be there for others who need support without draining your precious physical and emotional energy.)
I have found that the simpler the mediation, the easier it is to convince myself that I have a few extra minutes to spare. I also discovered that if meditating was my first morning activity, it set a healthy pace for my day and added just a bit more calm to my mind and body. So to help jumpstart your daily meditation routine, I’ve gathered a few of my favorite quick and easy practices you can do any time and any place.
Inspired by fitness writer Amy Schlinger
Duration: 5 minutes
You can complete this short meditation while still cozied up in bed. Set a timer, close your eyes and move through the sequence until your alarm buzzer sounds.
- While lying in bed, close your eyes and let your arms rest naturally by your sides, or wherever feels most comfortable to you. Begin breathing slowly in and out through your nostrils, and draw your focus to this sensation. Take five deep breaths. Don't worry about trying to clear your mind—just breathe.
- Continue this breathing pattern, but shift your focus to the space between your eyebrows, also known as your third eye. Take another five breaths.
- Now place your hands on your chest. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Concentrate on the rising and falling of your chest, and take five controlled breaths.
- Rest your hands by your side and continue this breathing pattern, but shift your attention back to your third eye. Take five slow breaths.
- Place your hands on your stomach while continuing to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, and concentrate on the rising and falling of your stomach. Take five deep breaths.
- Rest your hands by your sides and continue this breathing pattern, but shift your attention back to your third eye. Take another five deep breaths.
Once five minutes are up, that's it! It may seem too simple to be effective, but I promise you will feel the wellness benefits instantly and as you go about your day.
From by The Honest Guys’
Duration: 3 minutes
These guys live and breathe (pun intended) self-care. Boasting some of the best “guided meditation and guided sleep meditation experiences on the web,” the UK-based duo behind the Honest Guys take pride in sharing easy-to-follow relaxation content “all designed to work in harmony with your mind, body and spirit to promote greater health.” I love a meditation with a positive message, and this meditation is chock-full of uplifting affirmations to send you off on a blissful cloud all day long.
Inspired by Mindful
Duration: 3-5 minutes
Breath is the foundation of all meditation. The extended manipulation of your inhales and exhales can calm your mind and relax your entire body. Sometimes all you need is a few dedicated deep breaths in a serene setting to put you right where you need to be. Try this simple breathwork meditation anytime you feel overwhelmed or if you’re looking for a cleansing start or end to your day. \
- Find a relaxed, comfortable position, either sitting (on a pillow, cushion or chair) or lying down. Rest your hands wherever they are most comfortable.
- Unclench your jaw, drop your shoulders down away from your ears and soften your muscles from head to toe.
- Notice your body. Pay attention to the sensations you are experiencing in your body. Notice where you may be carrying tension and begin to soften those areas as you breathe.
- Tune into your breath. Feel the natural flow of your inhales and exhales. Don’t change your breath, just simply observe it. Notice where the breath goes. Is it being held entirely in your chest or does the breath expand deep down into your abdomen? Feel the air travel in and out of your body.
- Allow thoughts to come and go. Observe but do not chase any thoughts that enter your mind. Do not judge your thoughts, but simply let them enter your mind and visualize them drifting away. If you find yourself too distracted by your thoughts, gently redirect your attention back to your breathing–inhaling and exhaling.
- Stay in this space for three to five minutes, observing your mind, body and breath.
- After a few minutes, notice your body again. Before opening your eyes and exiting your meditation, thank yourself for taking time in your day to just breathe. Let gratitude and appreciation flow through you.
- Smile and blink your eyes open. Feel joy flow from within you and continue with your day.
Reset your day in a positive way
Duration: 5 minutes
Goodful is Buzzfeed’s upbeat wellness page aimed at helping you lead a “healthier, happier life” through positive and informative articles and videos. I listen to their five-minute meditation for beginners video at least once a week when I need a reset from the weekday craze. Try listening to this next time you’re in need of an energy uplift.
Inspired by Harvard Business Review
Duration: At least 1 minute
Meditation can be done anywhere, any time and any place. Quality over quantity is my motto and becoming aware of the present moment is half the battle when taking time to meditate. If you can turn your attention away from the outside world and shift your focus inward, you can meditate in even the most chaotic settings. The same goes for your car. Traffic can be one of the most unnerving activities and road rage can stay with you long after hitting the offramp. Try this car commute meditation while en route to your next destination and experience the enlightening benefits of becoming truly present and appreciative in the current moment.
- Observe yourself in your car. Notice how you are sitting. Are you slouching or are you sitting up straight? Are you tense or relaxed while driving? Sit up in your car seat and press your back and neck against your seat. Keep both hands on the steering wheel but relax your shoulder down away from your ears.
- Take a deep breath and notice your surroundings. Don’t judge or place emotion on what you see, just observe. Is there traffic or an open road? Is the sun shining or are rain droplets covering your windshield?
- Feel your breath move in and out of your body as you notice buildings pass you by or the beauty of open grass fields along the highway. Feel the beauty in the fact that traffic is temporary and you are lucky to be in a vehicle that can take you from place to place. You are the driver of your destiny and that is a powerful thing!
Try this for your entire commute or for just a few minutes and notice how much more enjoyable your commute becomes.