You may recognize the traditional form of meditation but have you ever heard of Mini Meditations? Mini’s are a great way to support positive brain chemistry and improve overall mood, and even if you don’t have the time or the desire for a formal meditation practice, you can benefit from these mini–meditations of 30 seconds.
A mini can be used for an anticipated stressor that you know is coming up such as a difficult meeting, a discussion, a phone call, or even when you unexpectedly find yourself in the middle of a stressful situation, like on hold on the phone or in a waiting room, standing in a long line, or even if somebody says something to you that bothers you. It can also be used when you’re in pain or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Minis can immediately reduce anxiety and tension.
We like to recommend that you aim to do one to two minis each hour throughout the day. They can be as brief as a few breaths, a yoga stretch, or as long as five minutes. Associating a mini with a task that you do throughout the day, like answering the phone, checking email, or standing in line is a helpful way to make minis part of your daily habit. Visual cues like Post-it Notes or reminders on your phone and computer can also be helpful. So let’s explore some options for minis. We will switch to audio for the remainder of this practice.
The first mini is counting backward from 10. With this one, you count very slowly to yourself from 10 down to zero with one number for each out-breath.
Take One or a Few Deep Breaths
The next mini that you can do is very quick. Inhale for four and exhale for four. Inhale one, two, three, four, and exhale. Four, three, two, one. Inhale one, two, three, four. And exhale, four, three, two, one. These minis can truly be done anywhere; sitting in the car, sitting at your desk, and you can do as few or as many as you want to, need to, or have time for. Even taking a walk and counting four paces as you breathe in, and four paces as you breathe out.
The next mini that we’ll look at is a physical sensation. These minis combined breath awareness with a physical focus, such as massaging your hand while you breathe in and out. So you can give that a try while you massage your hand, you can also use the short inhale for four, exhale for four. Inhale for four and exhale. You can also coordinate your breath with almost any activity. Inhaling and exhaling as you jog, or lift weights, or maybe even wash dishes.
Stretching and Yawning
Stretching and yawning can be a great mini. Also practice sitting stretches while at your desk, in a chair, or standing with yoga poses like a mountain or warrior. Just being aware of your breath as you move with slow in-breaths and slow-out breaths.
Imagery is another great way to help calm and be aware of your breath. You can picture yourself in a place that you find relaxing. Maybe that’s the beach. Maybe it’s the mountains. Maybe it’s a stream. Maybe it’s your backyard, but you can close your eyes and picture the place where you feel relaxed and then slowly breathe in and breathe out. Letting go of that physical tension and stress. You can also imagine what it would feel like to be a tree. A tree that’s strong, and rooted and expansive. Or what about a mountain that’s timeless, and strong, and stable. Or maybe a wave that’s fluid, limitless. Or the sun that’s radiant and warm
There are endless opportunities to do minis throughout the day. We hope that once you try some minis, they will become a regular part of your day.
If you have any questions about our Wellness Services at Homebase, please reach out to us at our website, www.homebase.org/connect2care. You can also follow us on social media @homebaseprogram.