How can we lower stress levels, stabilise our blood pressure and develop a calm, centred mind, all in five minutes a day?
Meditate. Or, if you prefer less flowery language, let’s call it mindfulness or focus. We’ll abbreviate to MMF 🙂
Lots of traditions incorporate this practice – Buddhism and Yoga are two that spring to mind first but I find it useful to focus on the practical side of things. In simple terms, MMF helps you to be more aware of what your mind is doing and to guide your thoughts onto what you want to focus on.
Find a quiet room with no distractions. Make sure you switch your phone off. Or at least turn it onto airplane mode. You definitely do not want to get notifications when you practice!
Now get comfortable. You can lie down or sit in a chair, whatever feels better. Get your body as relaxed as possible.
Rest your hands on your knees – there’s nothing symbolic about this, it’s probably just the most comfortable place to rest them.
Close your eyes gently and now the hard part: just…breathe
Bring your attention to your breath, as it enters through your nose. Feel the way your chest expands and feel the way the air fills your lungs. Exhale gently and let the breath leave your body. Carry on doing this, always letting your breathing pattern progress naturally. If you get distracted, which you always will, that’s normal and it’s fine. Just gently bring your attention and focus back to your breath and carry on.
Do this for as long as you want. Maybe aim for 5 minutes but there is no scorekeeping, it’s not like lifting weights or running where there’s a defined metric or goal. This just…is
If you want to set a timer, use a gentle alarm. A soft bell or bleep is ideal.
Once you’ve finished, stand slowly and gently shake your arms and legs out.
It’s a great thing to do in the afternoon when you might be feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed. Take a few minutes to MMF and it’s like rebooting your brain 🙂
I also practice when I’m ready for sleep as I drift off naturally.
It really is that simple and it’s a very powerful way of relaxing the mind and body. Give it a go and practice it regularly to see the benefits!