Most people barely have time to get ready in the morning, so fitting meditation into the routine probably feels impossible.
But the benefits of a few minutes of mindfulness are clear: Research shows that it helps increase self awareness, lowers stress and improves concentration. So, that sparks the question: If all you have is a few minutes to do it, is that enough? And how do you go about it?
Sharon Salzberg, a meditation teacher and the author of Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28 Day Program, says it’s possible.
“I think if you only have five minutes, then do the five minutes,” Salzberg told The Huffington Post.
Eventually, those five minutes could grow to 10 and so forth, she explained. And the more you meditate, the more you stand to reap the mental and physical perks of doing so.
Salzberg, who has been practicing since 1970, broke down the nuts and bolts of a five-minute morning meditation routine and how to do it. Take a look at her advice below:
Find a relaxing place to do it.
Make sure you settle into a comfortable spot. Meditation experts suggest to sit with an upright spine and to keep the shoulders gently down and back. Salzberg said you can either choose to close your eyes or keep them open.
Begin by breathing.
Yep, it’s that simple.
“Place your attention to the nostrils, chest or abdomen and just breathe naturally,” Salzberg said. “See if you can feel the ‘in-and-out’ [of your] breath. When your mind wanders, don’t worry about it. See if you can let go and come back.”
Realize you’ll probably think of other things.
Don’t panic if you start to notice that you’re thinking about the coffee maker or creating a grocery list during the meditation.
“The key is knowing that your mind will wander,” Salzberg said, noting that it’s “not a sign of failure.”
Gently notice the items that pop up in your mind and then let those thoughts pass as you direct your attention back to feeling your breath go in and out.
“Every time you gently let go of what’s distracted you and come back, you’re doing the training,” she said. “[Mindfulness training] is about letting go more gracefully and it’s about ‘beginning again’ with more kindness toward yourself. So let go and begin again and if that’s all you do for five minutes ― that’s a good five minutes.”
Finish with an aspirational thought.
Salzberg says that morning meditations are the perfect opportunity to set up your day on a positive, empowering note.
“In the morning, I like to end with something that is aspirational for the day,” she said. “It might be, ‘May I try to bring this spirit of beginning again into my day.’ Or, ‘May I try to be more grounded in the present moment.’”
Salzberg also stressed that a five-minute meditation routine (or any length of time, for that matter) is not just to find calm in that time period, but to train yourself to access that relaxation the rest of the day. If you find yourself thinking self-defeating thoughts or become frustrated with your family or coworker later on, think back to the morning meditation.
Ready to add the practice into your daily routine?