Taking a few minutes to meditate can calm the nervous system, reduce stress and anxiety, and help you feel more centered. Practice this short and simple mindfulness meditation. All you will need is a cushion or a yoga mat, a quiet space, and a few minutes of your time.
As you sit down comfortably, take a few deep breaths and close your eyes. First, become aware of the sounds that you can hear—perhaps the chirping of birds outside your window, or the soft stir of leaves in the wind. Notice any sensations that you can feel.
Observe the temperature of the air—is it hot or humid? Or is it cold?
Feel the touch points of your body against your cushion or mat, and the soft fabric of your clothing enveloping your skin.
Pay attention to these small details, allowing the body to slowly but steadily ground itself in the present moment.
Next, notice the shape of your body and the space that it takes up. Feel your sitting bones grounded down onto your cushion or mat, your spine lengthening up towards the ceiling, your shoulders relaxing away from your ears, and the crown of your head reaching skyward.
Then, scan your body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.
Pay attention to how your body really feels. Are there any areas of tightness, discomfort, or even fatigue? Or does your body feel supple, relaxed, or energized?
Remember that you can feel all of these at the same time, or maybe not at all. Simply observe. Scan your body one more time.
Start to focus on the breath. Do not try to manipulate or change the breath for now—simply watch and observe the rhythm and cadence of your breath.
What is the quality of your inhalations and exhalations? Do you breathe more through the belly or through the chest? Do you hold the breath? Do you take small sips of air? Are you breathing fully and expansively? Try to breathe more slowly and deeply, and let your inhalations be at pace with your exhalations.
Check in with the mind. Notice any thoughts taking up space in your mind. Notice any emotions that come with these thoughts—are there feelings of distress and anxiety? Instead of letting these thoughts and emotions overwhelm you, observe them instead.
Do not judge them. Do not resist them. Take a step back, and observe them as if they were clouds in the sky, or leaves blowing in the wind. Notice how one thought replaces the last, how these worries or anxieties are simply passing through. Let them pass through.
Continue observing the mind for a few more minutes. When you are ready, slowly become aware of your breath, body, surroundings. Notice how you are feeling. Take a few deep breaths, then open your eyes.
Need a guide? Try this 13-minute guided meditation.