In my last article, I’ve shared with you a few of the surprising benefits that you can expect when you start a meditation practice. Now that you know why meditation can have a tremendous impact on your health and wellbeing, let’s explore some of the ways you can start meditating with a small commitment of only 5 minutes a day.
I hear you say “how could 5 minutes of meditation have any impact in my life?” Let me tell you my story. A few years back, I was a pretty anxious girl. I dealt difficultly with sudden changes of plans and short deadlines. I was obsessed with time and not very flexible with rules and punctuality. All those stress factors had an impact on my mental health, of course, but also on my relationship with my fiancé and, most of all, in my work. More than once my boss had to tell me to find a way to manage my stress levels and work on my flexibility. My therapist at the time suggested that I try to start meditating as a way to cope with stress.
I went to my local library and browsed the pile of meditation CDs. The one I picked up was a 30-day program of guided meditations. The first thing I have noticed after I started meditating was that my stress levels dropped instantly. Over time, I discovered a meditation app on my tablet and was quickly hooked. I started meditating for 5 minutes a day during my Miracle Morning and quickly increased the duration of my sessions. 3 years later, I’m often surprised to realize how poised I feel, how calmly I react when I’m faced with sudden changes and how flexible I have become for those things that used to make me crazy back in the days. One day, my boss took me to his office to tell me that he noticed a change in my attitude and asked what I did to become so calm. It was my wakeup call to realize that meditation was really worth it. And I know that anyone can benefit from it.
You only need 5 minutes a day
5 minutes a day is all you need to benefit from meditation. I suggest that you start with guided programs as they will instruct you on the basics of meditation. There are many places where you can find guided meditations, such as YouTube, mobile apps and meditation CDs. There is an app that I use called Calm (non-affiliate) on my phone and tablet. I like Calm because you can use different guided meditations or a simple timer with no voice. I started with the guided ones and quickly switched to timer only.
Different types of meditations
This is my favorite. A body scan invites you to focus on your sensations by mentally scanning your whole body, part by part. It is great to learn to focus and gives you a calming sensation very quickly. It is great for beginners, but advanced practitioners still use this type of meditation. Calm has great body scan meditations for various lengths of time.
Cardiac Coherence teaches you to focus on the breath for 5 minutes and align it to the natural rhythms of your heart. This is the first meditation I have tried, as suggested by my therapist. It has many health benefits as well as mental and emotional ones. You can find Cardiac coherence videos on YouTube with a visual aid that helps you focus on the breath. I like this one.
Popularized by the Buddhists, mindfulness meditation teaches you to become aware of your surroundings, your feelings and sensation. You choose a point of focus, your breath, a sound, an object (often the flame of a candle) and you direct your attention to it. When a thought enters your mind, you notice it, then bring back your attention to your point of focus. It can be a bit more difficult advanced at first, but it quickly builds your focus muscle and helps you concentrate in other spheres of your life. Now that I am a more advanced practitioner, this is the meditation that I tend to use the most.
Those are only a few examples, you can find many more types of meditation by doing a quick search on YouTube or Google.
You can meditate anywhere
When you start meditating, you will quickly realize that you’ll get in the zone at other moments of your life, outside of your meditation practice. Here are some of the things that can trigger a meditative state :
- Walking : If you like to take long walks, it can be a great way to meditate. Focus on your sensations, on your breath, or me mindful of your surroundings, of the feeling of the wind in your face, of the warmth of the sun. Explore your sensations and gently bring back your attention when you start thinking of other things.
- Chores : One of the things that trigger my meditative state is doing chores around the house. Washing dishes, folding clothes, sweeping the floors are all activities that you can enhance by being mindful. I just stay focused on my movements, on the feelings of the water on my hands, and I quickly get into flow state.
- Shower : Another great place to practice meditating is your shower. You probably don’t need to think about your movements when you take a shower. It is a routine that you have been practicing since you were a kid. Use that engrained habit to practice mindfulness. Focus on your breath, on the feeling of the water trickling on your back, and let go of your thoughts.
The next level
You are now familiar with the basics of meditation. You have started meditating for 5 minutes a day, you have a nice app that you love and a few favorite YouTube videos. What should you be doing next? I would suggest that you increase your sessions gradually to 10, 15 or 30 minutes, as long as you have enough time in your daily schedule to be able to sustain it. Personally, I meditate 10 minutes on most days, and 20 minutes on a lavish Sunday morning when I have all the time in the world. It’s really up to you, as long as it fits your personal lifestyle. As with any important habits, consistency is the key to success.
Are you ready to start meditating? Will you give some of these tips a go? Let me know in the comments below! If you enjoyed today’s article, share it with a friend who might benefit from it. Subscribe to my mailing list to receive links to my new blog posts and to book recommendations, exclusive content and tidbits of inspiration in your inbox every Friday.
See you next Tuesday!