Want to Feel Better Now? Do This Quick Five Minute Meditation!

When we're really busy (and let's face it, these days that seems to be all the time!) it can be difficult to find the time to relax and unwind. Even though we know it is good for us, just trying to find the time for something else can be enough of an obstacle that we don't do it. Here is a meditation that you can do for five minutes whenever you remember, that will help to remind your body to relax. Even just five minutes of focused relaxing (instead of continuing with the busy-ness) can refresh you, and allow you to return to whatever you have to do in a more productive mindset.

  1. Turn off electronics For the next five minutes either turn off the TV, phone, computer and any other electronic devices around you, or take yourself into another room. Even if you're at work, five minutes away from your desk is usually okay. This will set the scene for your relaxation, and help you to focus your attention inwards, on your body.
  2. Take a deep breath Breathe deeply into the base of your ribs, and as you do raise your arms out to the sides, and up, until they are above your head. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then slowly release the breath, and bring your arms back down. Repeat this step five times. Slow deep breaths helps to engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which is our body's relaxation system.
  3. Shrug your shoulders Slowly roll your shoulders - forwards three times and backwards three times. At the same time, say to yourself "It will be okay". Imagine that you are shrugging your shoulders both physically and metaphorically at the same time - that whatever happens, it will be okay!
  4. Shake it out! Gently shake your arms and legs... imagine the tension being flicked out of them, like water out of a wet towel. Focus on letting go. Remember to breathe!
  5. Quiet time Find a place to sit down and close your eyes. Now that you've shaken and loosened, it's a bit easier to sit and relax. With your eyes closed, start to notice your breathing. Just allow your breathing to come and go in it's own way. Count out 25 slow deep breaths.
  6. Letting go of the thoughts Whilst you've taken the five minutes out for yourself, your mind will no doubt be reminding you of all the things that you need to do. Many people think that if they have thoughts when they're meditating that they're not 'doing it right'. The goal of meditation is to be calm no matter what is happening. In other words, allowing the thoughts to be there and being unaffected by them. So whilst you're counting the breaths, notice any thoughts that arise, acknowledge them to yourself by saying "thinking, thinking" and let them go. Return your focus to your breath and continue counting.
  7. Smile! Have you ever noticed how much less you smile when you're stressed, but how much better you feel when you do? With your eyes still closed, take a deep breath in and hold it. Allow a smile to spread across your face and release the breath.

Five minutes is only a short amount of time, but you will be amazed at how much difference this short meditation can make to how you cope with stress, especially if you practice it regularly.

Simone Eyssens in a qualified psychologist with over 10 years experience, currently practicing in private practice in Melbourne, Australia. She specialises in working with anxiety, depression and trauma, utilising mindfulness-based approaches to help her clients reclaim their lives and feel better. To find out more, visit her website: http://www.simoneeyssens.com.au

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