When the pandemic started I—as many of you can relate—was feeling anxious, worried and stressed. I was having trouble sleeping and concentrating, and I had this annoying knot in my stomach I couldn’t get rid of. On top of that, I had lots of things to do and my work was keeping me much busier than usual.
I started participating in some online group meditations, which I loved, but I wasn’t making the most of that time. At first I could focus on the meditation, but after a few minutes my mind started thinking of my to-do list, all of the things I hadn’t gotten done and how tired I felt. Other days I was so busy that I started to worry about not having time for my meditation, and I stressed out, hurrying to finish my work to get to my meditation on time.
Meditating was stressing me out more than it was helping me relax. Have you felt this way?
Then is when I decided that a daily 30 minute meditation practice wasn’t for me. I had seen several one-minute meditation videos and audios online and on the meditation apps that I use (Headspace and Journey) and I was a little skeptic about it, but I knew it was worth the try. For World Meditation Day I wanted to share with you this super quick practice that I do everyday to take care of my mental health.
Is one minute enough?
I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t just wasting one precious minute of my time, so I did my research and then started practicing it. If there’s something you should know is that meditation is not like medicine. There’s not a particular amount of meditation that you must practice for it to work. Even a minute can help you connect with yourself. Meditation is a personal thing, and you should practice it for as much time as you feel comfortable with it. 30 minutes won’t work if you’re using the time to worry about all the things you are not doing, whereas a minute can be enough if you fully give yourself to the experience.
According to the meditation app, Headspace, 60 seconds can completely reset your mindset. Giving yourself a minute to take a break from whatever it is you’re doing and breathe is a recharging experience.
Start right away
If you’ve never meditated before, starting with a minute can help you understand how it works and get used to the experience. If you’re busy, having a minute to relax during the day is the perfect stress-free excuse to stop what you’re doing and enjoy a moment for yourself.
To do it, find a comfortable seated position. It doesn’t have to be something special. You can do it on your bed when you wake up, in your car or at your desk. Now, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Feel how the air fills your nostrils and travels through your body. Feel how your breath moves your body as it goes in and then as it goes out. Set a timer on your phone, or listen to a one-minute recording so you don’t have to worry about the time you spend in the practice.
If it helps, you can think of a mantra, like “breathing in”, “breathing out.” Especially when your mind is super busy, repeating these words in your head helps keep your thoughts out of sight. Another option to prevent your mind from drifting through your thoughts is counting your breaths. A different strategy is doing a mental scan of how each part of your body is feeling.
Don’t worry if your mind wants to wander off. Just bring the attention back softly.
On the Headspace site, they say that breath control in a 1-minute meditation is quite beneficial for immediate cognitive connection, which creates a calmer state of mind. It also helps with decision-making, focus, communication and energy levels. They even state that meditating daily, even if it’s just for a minute, reduces stress in 10 days, improves focus by 14% in four weeks and increases happiness by 16% after 10 days.
From personal experience, I can tell you that after those 60 seconds I feel much better: my mind is clearer, I feel less stressed, I feel calm, I’m in a better mood and I’m motivated to take on the day. When you do this every day, it helps ease anxiety, improve your mood, and be more focused.
Now, I start my day with a one-minute meditation. Before I jump out of bed I set my timer and focus on my breath. However, sometimes I do it more than once during the day. Whenever I’m feeling a lot of stress, or if I’m lacking motivation or energy, or even before I feel like I’m about to be angry about something. It helps me regulate my mood, my anxiety and makes me feel better in general.
Here’s a one-minute meditation you can start doing right now!