At your desk just before a meeting. In the car park while you wait to pick the kids up from school. On the sofa after your favourite TV programme. Can you really meditate in a few stolen moments?
Contrary to popular belief, meditation doesn’t have to take up hours of your day (check out our meditation myth busting article here). Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, simple meditation techniques that take just three minutes can leave you feeling calmer, collected and more focused.
In fact, one of our top meditation tips for beginners is that quicker sessions may actually be preferable. Why? Your mind may be more prone to wander.
Suze Yalof Schwartz, CEO and founder of Unplug Meditation, says: “At first, it’ll be a battle between thought and focus. Finding the gap between the two is the sweet spot. It gets easier the more often you do it.”
3-minute meditation exercise
Try this meditation technique from Marina Grazier, co-founder of The Mindfulness Exchange.
Marina says: “Through a focus on breathing, we can learn to switch off the autopilot that most of us live by and gain an insight into our thoughts and behaviours.”
The exercise takes just three minutes, making it easy to slot into your day – just make sure that whenever you choose to do it, you’re comfortable and in a quiet space.
- Sit in an upright chair or stand and close your eyes.
- Tune into your breathing and ask yourself: ‘What am I thinking right now? What feelings do I notice? What bodily sensations can I sense (for example, a stiff neck)?’ Don’t try to change anything; just acknowledge these sensations – then let them go.
- Narrow your focus to the sensations of breathing in your abdomen, expanding as you breathe in and falling back as you breathe out.
- Focus on being aware of your whole body and its place in the room – think of it as your whole body breathing.
- Slowly move your fingers and toes, open your eyes and continue your day, refreshed.
Breathe into mindfulness
As advocates for proven practices to enhance wellness, we’re all for meditation and mindfulness relaxation techniques here at WW.
Here’s a quick breathing exercise you can try, whether you’re on the go or simply enjoying some me time.
- Sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Inhale deeply and slowly through your nostrils, hold for two seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth.
- Tune into your body. Notice how your body feels in the seat. Relax any tense areas and just breathe.
- Pay attention to your breath as it flows naturally in and out. Notice your chest rising and falling, the air passing in through your nostrils and the ‘whoosh’ as you exhale.
- Notice if your mind wanders. It’s normal to be distracted by stray thoughts, but when you notice them, gently return your focus to your breath.
- Breathe mindfully for a few minutes. Gently return your focus to your whole body, relaxing even more deeply, then open your eyes and take a moment to appreciate yourself for doing this exercise.
To enhance mindfulness and improve your overall wellness, practice this breathing technique at least three times a week, even if it’s just for a few minutes.