The other day I had been to a social gathering wherein I got an opportunity to speak to a group of millennial’s about meditation. I was impressed to know that majority of them knew the benefits of meditation, some said we practice meditation and it is a great stress buster.
When I asked them “Do you face any challenges or difficulties with your meditation practice? Surprisingly! most of them had the same concerns. Following are the two questions which were asked to me by most of them;
- How to meditate quickly?
- How to set up a daily meditation practice?
Do you have the same questions on your mind when it comes to meditation – If Yes, then in this post I am going to share with you eleven ridiculously simple ways, which will help you meditate quickly on a daily basis. I shared the same ways with the group of millennial’s, I met in the social gathering. They were amazed at the simplicity and discovered how meditation can be fun and super effective. Now it is your turn, sit back and continue reading. Here comes the first one…
1. Deep Breathing – Only 60 seconds
Do you have a minute right now? Then let’s do this right away as you read this post. First get your mobile and set a timer for 1 minute. Find a comfortable place to sit, you can even sit on a chair and ensure your back is straight.
Press the ‘Start’ button on the timer, first take a normal breath. Now breathe in slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to rise as. Let your abdomen expand fully. Now breathe out slowly through your mouth or nose if that feels more natural. Pause. One more time, breathe in, this time a little slower and deeper and breathe out. Pause. Continue till your timer beeps after one minute.
What you just did is a mini meditation. How do you feel? Can you notice the difference, how was your state of mind before doing this mini meditation and after doing this quick 1 minute session? I am guessing you are feeling a bit less stressed. Deep abdominal breathing fosters full oxygen exchange due to which it slows the heartbeat and lowers blood pressure.
Now that you know how this technique works, I encourage you to practice this every couple of hours for a month and experience the difference. It only takes 60 seconds!
2. LABEL Method – Only 30 Seconds
This is a research proven technique that can help you get a grip on your emotions. Throughout the day we experience a lot of emotions and unfortunately most of us get drowned in it or tend to get overwhelmed by the feelings. Start using the magic power of labeling and you will be able to control and not get swayed by your emotions.
Here’s what you need to do:
Give your emotions a ‘Label’ or ‘Name’. For instance “Sad”, “Angry”, “Jealous”, “Nervous” – whatever emotions you feel give it a name. When you give your emotions a name it shifts some of your brain activity from emotional areas to the thinking areas of your brain. Your feelings do not disappear however labeling helps you in hitting the brakes on the loop of negative feelings. Imagine these labels like mini compartments in your brain and as you label these emotions they go and sit in their respective compartments.
So anytime during the day whenever you feel overboard by emotions simply label them. Notice this feeling without reacting or judging. Simply acknowledge the emotion in your mind “Yes, this is sadness” or “Yes, this is nervousness” or “Yes, this is irritation”. Once you have acknowledged, then consider if any action you can take to manage the situation which infused this emotion. Just by accepting your emotions, you will increase your ability to tolerate and manage it well.
I encourage you to practice this technique whenever you feel overwhelmed during the day.
3. The RAIN Method – Only 2 minutes
The RAIN method to some extent I would say is an extension of the Label method. In order to practice this method you will need roughly about 2 minutes. Have you noticed instances wherein you are stressed or worry excessively over something, at such times your mind lacks clarity, it cannot think properly and the decision-making capacity gets paralyzed – Does this happen to you ?
This is where the RAIN method is the most effective as it helps you gain clarity within the chaos. If you follow the steps, you will be able to handle or face any stressful or challenging situation. This method helps to bring mindful awareness to emotional suffering and provides soothing balm for emotional pain.
- R – Recognize what is happening.
- A – Accept & Allow life to be as it is.
- I – Investigate why it is happening, with kindness
- N – Non-identification.
R – Recognize what is happening?
Recognition starts with identifying and focusing your attention on whatever thoughts, emotions, feelings or sensations are arising within you. This step is very much similar to the above discussed LABEL method wherein we give a name or label to an emotion.
For example, you are feeling very much anxious that you will be fired from your job. Throughout the day at the back of your mind there is a constant fear or a negative thought lingering “I am going to soon get fired from this job”. Now in such a situation, if you put a label to such thoughts “I am getting anxious” and simply watch these thoughts, feelings arising in your mind, the sensations in your body, after a while the pressure or the tightness in the body seems to loosen. I am not saying you are perfectly alright, however there is slight difference in the state of mind – Try this, to experience the change in the state of mind.
A – Accept & Allow life to be as it is.
After recognizing comes, acceptance or allowing. How do you feel when you go through unpleasant or negative feelings – You don’t like it – Right? I used to hate it, the thoughts of insecurity, not good enough, helplessness. There was natural aversion and resistance from my side, as I used to never like thinking about myself as good for nothing or a victim of circumstance.
It is much later I realized that “allowing” or “letting be” the thoughts and feelings does not mean you like such feelings or thoughts, instead as you become more willing and allow to be present with “what is” the more you gain strength to face it. If I feel vulnerable or timid, I must accept it. It is “okay” to feel nervous, timid or vulnerable. Do not suppress these emotions, instead accept them. When you experience such negative feelings, whisper to yourself “Yes, I am feeling bad” or “Yes, I am getting worried with my finances”
Allowing is very much similar to healing and gives you an opportunity to get better. The more you “allow” negative feelings / emotions the more chances you give yourself to transform.
I – Investigate why it is happening, with kindness
This is very much similar to self introspection. Simply pause and ask yourself; What’s triggering this stress or anxiety? What thoughts or feelings are feeding my stress? What am I believing? Am I being realistic? It is important to find answers to such questions as this would help in eliminating or replacing the hidden beliefs or feelings buried within us.
While investigating or asking questions it is important that you do not lose patience or get irritated with yourself. Hence, it is important you “investigate with kindness”. Imagine if your child came home and started crying as his teacher scolded him at school. Now as a parent, in order to find out what happened? Why did the teacher scold him? What mistake did he commit? you need to be kind, gentle and receptive with the child. Bring that same approach, same kindness when you are dealing with yourself.
N – Non-identification
Non-identification means your sense of who you truly are is not defined by any limited set of emotions, sensations or stories. These painful thoughts, miserable feelings, anxiety and sensations are not YOU. All you need to do is “step to the side” and watch them pass by as a news feed.
4. Deliberate Focus On One Activity – Only 60 Seconds
Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. You can practice mindfulness by deliberately focusing on any one activity, it can be mindful eating or walking in the nature or talking to your spouse / child, taking a shower or brushing your teeth.
The idea here is to focus on the present moment, the “here and now.” When we are aware and mindful of what is happening at this very moment, we are not distracted by ruminations on the past or worries about the future, but centered in the here and now. All of our attention is focused on the present moment. This activity can be performed anytime during the day and takes only 60 seconds.
To experience the ultimate feelings of inner calm and presence, I highly recommend that you check out >>>7 Minute Mindfulness
5. Watch Your Thoughts Parade – Only 30 Seconds
Do you remember moments wherein you were lost in your thoughts? Many times – Right? In today’s lives our mind are often engulfed with some or the other aspect of our life, be it relationship, work, career, success etc. The idea is not to get lost in thoughts instead watch the “thoughts parade” in your mind. You don’t have to join the parade instead act as a bystander and observe the parade.
Do you know you can actually discover a lot about yourself, if you keenly observe your thoughts and emotions. Your concerns, worries, dreams are telling a story about you. Anytime during the day, just pause and ask yourself “What am I thinking?” and witness the thoughts parade.
6. Forced Smiling – Only 30 Seconds
Have you noticed statues of the meditating Buddha with a half-smile on his face? Ever wondered why he smiles? This might sound silly but smiling magically relaxes your mind and body – It works instantly. In fact researchers say that every time you smile the body releases dopamine, endorphins which elevates your mood and creates a sense of well-being.
So if you are feeling low / down in dumps, force yourself to smile for 30 seconds. I like what Buddhist author Thich Nhat Hanh once said “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy”. So put up a happy face and you will actually feel happier.
7. Look at photos of nature – Only 60 seconds
Spend some time gazing at the nature. A new study has found that just looking at still images of nature provides ‘natural’ stimulus to lower our stress levels. It is found that looking at green pictures (i.e. pics of grass, trees etc) have found to be particularly effective in providing relaxation and recovery after experiencing a stressful period.
8. Gaze at a picture of YOU relaxing – Only 30 seconds
This method is very much similar to looking at still images of nature, the only difference this time the image is of yours. What’s your favorite way to relax? Is it sitting on a couch or lying on the bed or lying on the green grass or simply lying on a beach – Whatever it is, take a pic of you relaxing.
The idea here is to look at the image (of you relaxing) and recreating the feelings of relaxation, calm and a sense of well-being. Using the visualization technique, see yourself relaxing for 30 seconds at your favorite place. This is fun, try it out.
To learn how to set up a daily meditation practice effortlessly, I highly recommend you check out >>> Master Your Mind Beginner’s Meditation Course
9. Recite a Mantra or Affirmation – Only 30 Seconds
Reciting a mantra or affirmation silently in your mind is a powerful therapy tool. I personally like affirmations. My favorite affirmation is “Every day in every way you are getting better and better”. Every couple of hours or whenever I feel little low or overwhelmed with thoughts I say this affirmation. The most important part, when I say this affirmation I focus on myself getting better in practically all areas of life be it health, profession, relationships, career, success etc.
10. Notice 5 Things Around You (See – Hear – Smell – Feel) – Only 60 seconds
This method helps you to quickly connect with your surroundings and stay grounded to the present. At any given point you start getting overwhelmed or your mind tends to be anxious, just drop everything and focus on your surroundings.
See…what your eyes can see, the color of the wall, the texture, the laptop, the furniture etc just notice everything around you. Hear…what you can possibly hear. As I write this article…I can hear noise of kids playing downstairs, I can hear a car honking etc. As I write this, I can smell the cologne, I can feel a slight pain in my shoulders – Why don’t you try this now ?
By doing this exercise you will notice the mind calms down for a minute or so, the break-neck speed of thoughts has slowed down and You are focused on the Present.
11. The 4 – 7 – 8 Method – Only 60 Seconds
This technique was developed by Dr. Andrew Weil which forces the mind and body to focus on regulating the breath rather than ruminating over thoughts.
It is one of the easiest methods to do and the benefits are immediate. I strongly suggest you try this right away and it is perfect for anyone who is looking to quiet or calm their mind whenever they are feeling anxious.
- Sit comfortably on a chair, make sure when you sit, your back is straight.
- Let out a deep exhale, along with big sigh or whooshing sound through your mouth.
- Close your mouth and slowly inhale through your nose for a count of four i.e. (from 1 to 4)
- Hold your breath till the count of seven i.e. (from 4 to 7)
- Exhale slowly through your mouth on eight, make sure to let out a big sigh or whooshing sound.
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle for a total of five breaths
Always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation.
Now that you are aware about eleven incredible ways to calm your buzzing mind, I suggest start experimenting with any of them. What I like the most about these practices is that it won’t take more than 60 seconds, so even if you are the busiest person, I am sure you can take out a minute for yourself on a daily basis.
If you have enjoyed reading this post, my sincere suggestion to you is try it out. Don’t just move on to another article instead make a resolve to stick with these practices and do it for the next 30 days persistently. The rewards of doing this regularly is more awareness of present moment, less stress and overall well-being.
I would love to hear from you, please share your comments and let me know if you need further help. If you have found this post useful then share it with your friends and family.
To learn how to Get 1-hour of Advanced Meditation in just 12 minutes, I highly recommend you check out >>> Zen 12 – Hack The Mind With Meditation