Meditation is one of those wellness topics that people either love or hate. When some people think of meditation they think of a Buddhist monk on the ground chanting spiritual jargon. While yes, that is a form of meditation there are many different other types. Meditation has been gaining lots of traction within the wellness community as it is a beneficial coping skill that many mental health professionals are teaching. Some schools are even teaching it to children!
For me, meditation is all about hitting the pause button on life. I’m so busy that I plan out my entire day to make enough time for everything. Finding the time to meditate allows me to pause my life for a minute and to think about something else (or nothing at all). Scientifically, meditation helps to gain control of your physical tension by eliciting the calming response. I always end my meditation sessions feeling refreshed, creative and calm.
At first, meditation is difficult but over time it gets easier and easier because your body gets used to the process. With practice, your body will decrease the heart rate and respiration rate, slowing down blood pressure and reducing anxiety. Over time, meditators report that they not only feel less anxiety daily but also recover quicker after highly anxious situations.
Meditation doesn’t have to be more 30 minutes every day. Sometimes, all you need is a quick 5 minute meditation session. You don’t even have to go to a meditation studio. You can do it on the train during your morning commute, while waiting in line at Tatte or during your lunch break. Here are some of my favorite quick 5 minute meditations:
- Stress Relief Meditation: Sit comfortably or lay down. Focus on your breath. When you breathe in think about breathing in PEACE. When you breathe out think about breathing out STRESS. Continue this over and over again until you breathe in all the peace and breathe out all the stress. If thoughts come up, that it okay. Practice self-compassion for your wandering thoughts and just return to your breath.
- Gratitude Meditation. This is the meditation I typically use before bed. As I lay in bed, I picture everything and everyone that makes me grateful. I think about the past week and what moments/comments/things made me smile. This meditation is so important because strengthening your gratitude muscle helps you to be more grateful for moments as they happen.
- Self-Compassion Meditation. Sit comfortably or lay down. Imagine that you are looking in a mirror and see yourself looking back at you. Observe the image you see. List off all the things that you like about yourself. It could be your hair, your personality, your smile etc. List off everything you can think of and then focus on your breathe and/or repeat an affirmation such as “I love myself.” or “I am beautiful in my own way.”
- Sound Meditation. This is a really interesting meditation because normally we think about shutting off our brain but this is all about tapping into it. During this meditation, listen to all the sounds you hear and focus on each sound individually. When thoughts pop up, be compassionate with yourself and just continue to focus on the sounds around you.
- Deep Breathing. This is a classic quick meditation. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 2 seconds and breathe out for 4 seconds. Repeat over and over again until you feel more calm.