Learn How to Meditate When You Have 1 or 5 Minutes

Can you meditate in a few stolen moments? You bet, says Suze Yalof Schwartz, CEO, and founder of Unplug Meditation. “Whenever you can squeeze it in and for whatever amount of time, that's good,” Schwartz says.

A quick session might be preferable, especially if you're new to it. “Your mind's going to wander constantly, and it'll be a battle between focus and thought,” Schwartz says. However, she says that finding the gap between the two is the sweet spot, and it gets easier the more often you do it.

A specific length of meditation time is not required, Schwartz says you don't need to sit a certain way or feel compelled to buy props like meditation-specific pillows or candles. In short, meditation should not add more stress to your life. “It should meet you where you are,” she says. “It's just breathing.”

However, one thing you do need is a place where you won't be disturbed or disrupted. For example, Schwartz says she's been known to lock her car doors and meditate in a parking lot.

“You will never find the time to meditate,” she says. “You have to make it and carve it out of your day. Whether that's 60 seconds a day or 60 minutes a day, it's all good.” Try one of these meditations from her book, Unplug: A Simple Guide to Meditation for Busy Skeptics and Modern Soul Seekers, for your next quick session.

If you have 1 minute to meditate, try…

The Savoring Meditation

This is great for appreciating the moment, slowing down, promoting mindful eating, and experiencing what Schwartz calls “food joy.” Do it as you begin a meal or snack.

  1. Hold the food in your hand.
  2. Look at it and ask yourself, “How did this get from the earth to my fingers?” Think about it. Imagine all the steps it took to travel to you.
  3. Lift the food to your ear. When you squeeze some foods, they make interesting sounds. Spend a few seconds listening.
  4. Put the food in front of your mouth with your lips closed. Notice that you're salivating a little in anticipation.
  5. Place it in your mouth and feel the texture with your tongue, then begin to chew as slowly as you possibly can, noticing as many elements as you can.
  6. Swallow, smile, and go on with your day.

If you have 5 minutes to meditate, try…

A Quick Shot of Calm

Ideal for relieving anxiety, cooling off anger, or releasing frustration, this is the meditation to go to when tension is running high or if you're about to speak publicly or make a tough decision.

  1. Take seven slow breaths, inhaling and exhaling through your nose.
  2. Take seven more slow breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
  3. Finally, take seven more slow breaths, inhaling and exhaling through your mouth.
  4. Resume breathing normally and notice how your energy has shifted.
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