Many of us don’t meditate for the same reason we don’t pursue so many other worthy goals : We just don’t have the time. But if we can spare a few minutes every day to brush our teeth or apply makeup , surely we can spend the same amount of time on a practice with proven mental health benefits . Starting with an extremely brief guided meditation could be the gateway to a deeper, more involved practice. Here are 10 five-minute-or-less meditations even the greenest beginner can squeeze into a busy day.
1. Meditation for Letting Go : Who couldn’t use a little help letting go? Holding on to negative emotions creates a harmful mental drain we’re better off not carrying around each day. With descriptions of a bird soaring freely in the sky, this meditation provides helpful imagery for release.
2. Loving-Kindness Meditation : If you’ve ever tried this special form of meditation, you know it focuses attention first on another person for whom you feel unconditional love, then directs those same feelings inward toward yourself. While we can all identify people in our lives we care for deeply, we often neglect to extend the same loving care to ourselves. Experience the powerful effects of self-love in this five-minute loving-kindness option.
3. Morning Intention Meditation : Back to the tooth-brushing and makeup habits for a sec. You’ve likely incorporated these practices as a standard part of your morning routine . Got five minutes for one more? This lovely morning meditation establishes a positive tone for the day, guiding you to set intentions and approach whatever lies ahead with optimism.
4. Meditation for Sleep : Just like meditation can start the morning right, it can end the day on a peaceful note as well. This one aims to help you still your mind, easing you into restful sleep. (And hey, if there’s any time of day when you definitely have time to meditate, it’s bedtime , when you’re already laying down quietly.)
5. Meditation for Focus : We used to think it sounded crazy that a three-minute meditation could reduce the burden of daily stresses and bring mental clarity… until we tried this one. Physician and author Deepak Chopra walks you through a series of simple statements, beginning with stating your name and ending with a simple chant of “Om.” What happens in between is pure magic for sharpening focus.
6. Music for Meditation : Sometimes all it takes to get in a meditative, peaceful state is listening to the right ambient music. Science confirms that relaxing sounds can reduce heart rate and calm the nervous system. Try simply breathing to this chilled-out tune and see how you feel.
7. Quick Body Scan : The practice of progressive relaxation far predates the YouTube era. (It actually goes back to the work of physician Edmund Jacobson in the 1920s .) With its almost 100-year track record, this form of guided meditation has proven staying power. This brief recording provides a basic progressive relaxation experience, bringing awareness to various parts of the body and giving them permission to release tension.
8. Mindfulness Meditation : Of all the avenues for reducing stress and promoting mental health, mindfulness is one of the most popular these days. Thankfully, bringing awareness to the present moment doesn’t have to take long. This three-minute video directs you to clear the mind by picturing intruding thoughts as colored balloons. Waving these “balloons” away helps eliminate distractions and ground you in the now.
9. Gratitude Meditation : Research shows that expressing gratitude has both mental and physical benefits. People who regularly give thanks report better sleep , lower levels of depression , and even healthier marriages . Spend a few moments considering who and what you’re grateful for with this simple meditation.
10. Meditation for Anxiety Reduction : Before a high-pressure conversation or nerve-racking presentation, five minutes of meditation can go a long way toward reducing anxiety . Give this soothing video a try the next time you need to calm your nerves.
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(Featured photo via Getty)