Most of the time I’ll meditate because I feel like meditating. I’ll meditate in the morning before work because I feel like it. I’ll meditate in the evening before bed, again, because I feel like it. The times where I actually need to meditate, where I need to take a few moments to step back, breathe and reset myself are more rare, but I have to say that it’s at those times I find that meditation comes into its own, truly showing me what an indispensable part of my life it’s become. Moments of anger, frustration, confusion or sadness can come at the most inconvenient points in the day, points at which I don’t have instant access to my Headspace app or the time to sit for twenty minutes with my eyes closed. When my brain feels as if it’s about to implode but a full meditation session isn’t possible, I turn to this one-minute, three-step, emergency meditation routine; I’ll slip away for a few moments, carry out the steps, and come back with a clear head and refreshed mindset.
Before you begin, find a safe, private space where you’re comfortable meditating and know you won’t be disturbed. Sitting or standing, close your eyes and work your way through the routine, spending however long you like on each section – as little as 20 seconds per step can work wonders!
Step 1, feet – Start by focusing on your feet. Feel the weight of your body pressing down on the floor beneath you. Feel the pull of gravity. If sitting, you can also focus on the weight of your body on the chair or floor, or the weight of your hands resting on your lap. If standing, try shifting your weight onto different areas of the foot, rocking forwards and backwards, side to side, noticing where you feel the weight most. However you choose to approach this step, sitting or standing, you’re simply placing all of your attention, regardless of what’s going on in your mind at the time, onto the points of the body that are keeping you firmly rooted to the ground.
Step 2, surroundings – Now, open up your focus to your surroundings. Can you hear anything? Can you smell anything? Let sounds and scents come and go. Don’t actively search for them, just allow them to float in and out of your awareness.
Step 3, breathing – Lastly, bring your attention back to the body itself, this time to your breathing. Notice how the air flows in, filling up the lungs and elevating the chest. Notice how the air flows out, emptying the lungs and deflating the chest. Focus on how the air feels as it enters and exits the body, letting each breath come and go. Place a hand gently on the stomach to feel the rise and fall and, if it helps, count the breaths up to ten. In breath, one… out breath, two… in breath, three… out breath four… and so on, up to ten, before starting again and continuing for however long you need. Remember, you’re not trying to breathe in a certain way; just let it happen naturally.
When you’ve completed each step and are ready to finish up, simply open your eyes, take a deep breath in through your nose and blow out through your mouth. You should now feel a fresh sense of focus, your mind a blank slate to continue with your day.