Meditate Fast: Quick Mindfulness

how to meditate quickly

Meditation is a practice of focused concentration, where an individual uses various techniques to achieve a mentally clear, grounded, and relaxed state. It is not about completely clearing your mind of thoughts but being aware of your thoughts and bringing your attention back to your breath when your mind wanders.

- Find a quiet spot where you can sit down and get comfortable.

- Close your eyes or gently gaze downward.

- Become aware of your breath.

- Breathe from the belly with a full, gentle breath in and a full, gentle breath out. Find your own rhythm and pace.

- Relax as you settle into the moment.

- Silently, label your inhalation and exhalation.

Characteristics Values
Time 2-3 minutes to start, then longer periods
Posture Sit or lie comfortably
Eyes Closed or gazing softly into the middle distance
Breath Natural, focus on inhalation and exhalation
Body Relaxed, stable, in a position you can stay in for a while
Thoughts Observe without judgement
Location Quiet, comfortable

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Find a quiet spot

Finding a quiet spot is the first step to meditating. This could be anywhere, as long as you feel calm and it's comfortable. It's important to be kind to yourself and not judge yourself if you feel you are doing it wrong.

You could be inside or outside, but it should be somewhere you won't be disturbed. You could try sitting on the floor, in a chair, or even lying down. If you are sitting, it's best to have your feet flat on the floor, with your knees below your heart. You can sit with your hands in your lap or on your knees, and your back straight.

If you are sitting on the floor, you can sit loosely cross-legged, or kneel. If you are in a chair, try sitting at the front of the seat. You can close your eyes, or gaze softly into the middle distance.

The most important thing is that you are stable and can stay in this position for a while.

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Close your eyes

Closing your eyes is often the first step in meditation instruction. It helps you to let go of the activity around you and turn your attention inwards. It is the most common way to meditate, but not the only way.

With your eyes closed, you can begin to transition from your busy day to a moment of stillness. You can start to focus on your breath, feeling the flow of air as it goes in and out. You can place your attention on the inside of your nostrils, or where you feel your breath most—in your belly, or in your nose.

If you are new to meditation, closing your eyes might feel strange or uncomfortable. This feeling will usually pass as you become more familiar with the practice.

If you prefer, you can try meditating with your eyes open. You can try keeping them open just a crack, with a soft, unfocused gaze. Or, you can try the yogis' ancient Drishti technique, which involves focusing your eyes on one spot.

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Focus on your breath

Breath meditation is a simple yet powerful practice that involves focusing your attention on your breathing—its natural rhythm and flow, and the way it feels as you inhale and exhale. It is a form of "entry-level" meditation that can help relieve stress and cultivate mindfulness.

How to Do It:

  • Find a Comfortable Position: You can sit, stand, or walk during this meditation. Many people find sitting to be the best position.
  • Set a Time Limit: If you're a beginner, start with a short time, such as five or ten minutes.
  • Notice Your Body: You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, cross-legged, or kneel—ensure you are stable and can remain in this position for the duration of your practice.
  • Feel Your Breath: Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and out. Notice where you feel your breath the most—in your belly, nose, chest, or throat.
  • Notice When Your Mind Wanders: Inevitably, your attention will drift away from your breath. When you realise your mind has wandered, gently bring your attention back to your breath.
  • Be Kind to Your Wandering Mind: Don't judge yourself or get frustrated with the content of your thoughts. Simply acknowledge and gently return to focusing on your breath.
  • Close with Kindness: When you're ready to finish, gently open your eyes (if they were closed) and take a moment to notice your body, any sounds in the environment, and your thoughts and emotions.

Benefits of Breath Meditation:

  • Stress Relief: Focusing on your breath helps to calm your mind and reduce stress. It can be particularly effective when you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed out.
  • Improved Focus and Concentration: By practising mindful breathing, you'll find it easier to concentrate and sharpen your attention.
  • Mindfulness: Breath meditation is a gateway to mindfulness, helping you accept and appreciate the present moment without judgment.
  • Improved Sleep: Regular breath meditation can contribute to better sleep by reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Enhanced Health: Research suggests that breath meditation can have positive effects on physical health, including reducing chronic inflammation, which is linked to many diseases.

Remember, meditation is a skill that takes practice. Be patient with yourself and commit to a regular practice, even if it's just for a few minutes each day.

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Observe your thoughts

Observing your thoughts is a crucial aspect of meditation, and it involves paying attention to the stream of thoughts without getting caught up in them. Here are some tips to help you observe your thoughts during meditation:

Let Thoughts Come and Go:

Allow thoughts to enter your mind without judgement and then let them go. Don't try to suppress or ignore them, but also avoid getting sucked into them. Think of your thoughts as passing clouds or bubbles in the sky that come and go without you having to pursue or push them away.

Recognise Thoughts as Mental Events:

Understand that thoughts are mental occurrences, separate from your sense of self. They are like secretions of the thinking mind, independent of their content and emotional charge. Recognising this distinction between thoughts and awareness is essential.

Observe Thoughts Like a Scientist:

Approach your thoughts with curiosity and detachment, as if you were a scientist studying them. Ask yourself questions like, "What is the nature of this thought?" or "Where does it come from?" By doing this, you can gain insight into the patterns and origins of your thoughts.

Be Kind to Yourself:

Don't judge or criticise yourself for having thoughts. It's natural for thoughts to arise during meditation. Instead, gently bring your attention back to your breath or the present moment. Be patient and compassionate with yourself, especially when you notice your mind wandering.

Practice Mindfulness:

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment and using your senses to observe what's happening around you and within you. It helps you recognise when your mind wanders and improves your ability to bring your attention back to the present.

Observing your thoughts during meditation takes practice, and it's important to be patient and gentle with yourself. Remember that meditation is a skill that develops over time, and each time you notice your mind wandering, you are strengthening your ability to focus and cultivate a healthier relationship with yourself.

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Be kind to yourself

Meditation is a powerful tool for improving mental health and well-being. It can help to calm the mind, develop the ability to stay in the present moment, and foster self-compassion. Here are some tips to help you cultivate kindness towards yourself during your meditation practice:

Acknowledge Your Suffering

The first step towards self-kindness is acknowledging and accepting your pain or difficulties. Be mindful of the fact that you are experiencing suffering, and recognise that this is a normal part of life. You can use phrases such as "This is a moment of suffering" or "I'm having a tough time right now" to bring awareness to your present-moment experience.

Recognise the Shared Human Experience

Remind yourself that everyone goes through challenging times and that imperfection is inherent in the human condition. Phrases like "Suffering is a part of life" or "Everyone feels this way sometimes" can help you feel less alone and more connected to the shared human experience.

Extend Compassion to Yourself

Speak to yourself with warmth and care, using phrases such as "May I be kind to myself" or "May I give myself the compassion I need". Set the intention to treat yourself with kindness and compassion, just as you would a good friend. Recognise that you are worthy of compassion and that self-compassion is an important part of healing and growth.

Connect with Your Body

Place your hands on your heart or another part of your body that feels soothing, such as your belly or face. Feel the warmth and comfort of your own touch. This simple act of self-care can help you cultivate a sense of self-love and compassion.

Focus on Your Breath

Deep breathing can help to calm and centre you. Bring awareness to the natural process of inhaling and exhaling, following the sensation of the breath as it moves in and out of your body. This can help to anchor you in the present moment and create a sense of relaxation.

Practice Mindfulness

Throughout your day, take moments to pause and connect with your body and your surroundings. Notice the sensations in your body, the sounds in your environment, and the thoughts and emotions that arise. This practice of mindfulness can help you become more present and grounded, allowing you to approach yourself and others with greater kindness and compassion.

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Frequently asked questions

Meditation is about being aware of your thoughts and bringing your attention back to your breath when your mind wanders. If you're doing this, you're meditating correctly.

Start small. You can begin with as little as two to three minutes and work your way up.

Aim to meditate daily, even if it's just for a few minutes.

Any time that works for you.

Gently bring your attention back to your breath.

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