We’ve said it before here at Current: we believe a 25-minute meditation is the sweet spot for feeling relaxed in the moment and building mental fitness for the future. We also believe guided meditation classes like the ones we offer are designed to be much more than self-contained sessions of stress-free living. Meditation is a goal-less pursuit, but the state of mindfulness is certainly something worth seeking out. And opportunities for mindful moments happen all the time, not just when being led by a guide.
Another thing we believe is that you’re never too busy to meditate. Okay, so life’s thrown some unexpected obstacles in your way that will keep you from the meditation studio today. Sounds like a perfect opportunity for a micro-meditation to us.
We like to think of micro-meditations as being “breath sized.” Sometimes it takes as little as one breath to refocus the mind and send a wave of relaxation through the body. You’ve probably done these a time or two yourself when nervous, like right before entering a room to give a big presentation or meeting the in-laws for the first time. The one, big breath acts like an eraser for what came before it and puts you squarely in the moment.
There’s still a trick to breathing mindfully, however. After all, you’re breathing constantly already, so what’s the difference? What matters is the amount of focus and attention you place on your own breath – ideally, 100% of it. Checking in with your breath is the gateway to checking in with the rest of your body and turning tornadoes of stress into soft breezes of non-judgmental thoughts.
If you’re pressed for time, try a series of five deep breaths. Don’t judge yourself for feeling stressed, or anxious, or angry – simply give yourself permission to keep feeling as you were while turning your attention to the air leaving and entering your lungs. You may even repeat a mantra or intention at the top of each breath, some positive thought or statement directed toward yourself or someone else. Good vibes can spread in less than a minute.
Micro-meditations are also perfect for those times when maybe you’re not feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, but you could stand to gain a lot from simply appreciating the moment more. Maybe you’re just generally in a funk, or feel like there’s just so much to do and so little time to do it. When these thoughts creep up, try to get grounded. Literally. Just concentrate on the contact you’re making with the ground – focus on your feet if you’re standing, or the way a chair feels against your body if you’re sitting. Ground yourself physically first and your mind will follow in short order. You can even do this in the middle of a conversation with someone to become a more attentive listener immediately.
Another way to improve your listening skills: listen! Get outside of yourself for a moment and turn your attention to the sounds in your immediate vicinity. You’ll probably hear some things you’ve never heard before even if you’re in a familiar environment. Tuning into the outside world for a minute or two has a similar calming effect on the body to going internal with your thoughts.
The most important factor in living a mindful life is actually doing it. You can come to a guided meditation class to learn the fundamentals and enjoy an extended relaxation session, or you can breathe one time and achieve amazing results wherever you are and whenever you want. We encourage you to live mindfully on your schedule because micro-moments have a major impact.