10 Quick & Easy Meditation Practices Anyone Can Do

If you need a little pick-me-up throughout your day but don’t have time for a full, sit-down meditation session, try one of these ten quick and easy meditation practices. You can do them anywhere, anytime, and it won’t take more than five minutes.

Meditation has numerous different health benefits for your mind, body and soul. I won’t get into all the benefits of regular meditation practice here, but it’s definitely worth keeping in mind how beneficial it is to practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques.

In this article, I will give you a few simple, 10-minute mindfulness exercises to try out when you need to clear your mind but don’t have time for an extended meditation session.

Deep breathing

When it comes to deep breathing, there are dozens of different techniques to practise, but they all do the same thing; they send feel-good hormones to your brain that makes you feel relaxed.

Belly breathing

This technique is as simple as can be.

  • Sit comfortably, or lay down, with your hand on your belly.
  • Slowly inhale and feel your hand moving with your breath.
  • Hold your breath for a couple of seconds.
  • Exhale forcefully through your mouth and feel your belly retract.
  • Repeat 5-10 times or until you feel relaxed.

Square breathing

Breathing while simultaneously counting and following a shape will keep your mind occupied. Try this technique if you can’t seem to let go of any stress that is troubling you. It’s similar to the previous exercise but might help you shift your focus a bit better.

  • Sit or lay down comfortably with your hand on your belly.
  • Find something with a square shape.
  • Slowly inhale to the count of four while following one side of the shape.
  • Hold your breath for four seconds while following the next side of the shape.
  • Exhale to the count of four and follow the third side of the shape.
  • Finally, hold your breath for four more seconds while following the final side of the shape.

4–7–8 breathing

This exercise is a simple one because you can do it anywhere, for as long as you want and at any speed that feels comfortable.

  • Sit comfortably or lay down.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Slowly inhale for a count of four seconds.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven seconds.
  • Exhale through your mouth for eight seconds.

100 breath countdown

My therapist once shared this technique with me when I felt that regular ‘belly breathing’ wasn’t occupying my mind enough to stop the racing thoughts. It helped me focus my mind while also relaxing my body.

  • Sit comfortably or lay down with your palms on your knees.
  • Take a deep breath and say ‘100’.
  • Slowly exhale while saying ‘98’.
  • Repeat while subtracting two each time.
  • If you get to zero, start from there and add two with each breath.

White light — black smoke

This might be one of the lesser-known techniques on this list. The aim of this technique is not only to relax your body through your breathing but also to allow you to release any negativity or tension you might be holding onto.

  • Sit comfortably or lay down.
  • Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
  • While inhaling, imagine your body filling with clean, white light.
  • Hold your breath for a couple of seconds and let your body bathe in the feeling of lightness and calm.
  • Slowly exhale through your mouth while imagining your body letting go of black smoke that contains all your worry, anxiety, and stress. 

The white light represents positivity, joy and happiness, while the black smoke represents the stress, hatred, anger, and anxiety that you may be feeling. Doing this process will help you remove any negative feelings and replace them with positivity.

Focus your mind

Pay attention to the irrational thoughts

When you are under a lot of pressure, or if you have a particularly stressful day, your mind might create ‘what-if’ and worst-case scenarios that put you in a negative headspace.

The solution to this problem is surprisingly simple; acknowledge your thoughts to be just that: thoughts.

Whenever you experience a strong feeling of panic, stress, or irrational thoughts, try to pay attention to those thoughts and accept them for what they are. Neutralize these thoughts by telling yourself that they are nothing more than ridiculous thought patterns which have been created by stress.

Practise gratitude

Instead of focusing on the worst-case scenarios, try and focus your mind on everything you feel grateful for right now. It is a powerful exercise that, if done correctly, can be automatically implemented into your daily routine.

You will begin to notice everything great in your life, and you will live a more joyous life if you only focus on the good.

Notice five things

Sometimes it feels as though we are out of touch with our bodies, and time seems to go by in slow motion. By doing this exercise, you will ground yourself by focusing on the here and now. Take a few deep, slow breathes and then try to notice five things:

  • that you can feel,
  • that you can see,
  • that you can hear,
  • that you can smell.

Body relaxation

Muscle relaxation

The next two meditation techniques are great to do if you struggle to fall asleep.

If you fall asleep during these exercises, don’t scold yourself for not completing them. Instead, congratulate yourself for reaching such a deep level of relaxation that you managed to put yourself to sleep.

  • Sit comfortably or lay down. (This exercise is best to do when lying down.)
  • Take a few deep breaths and notice how they feel.
  • Focus your attention on your face.
  • Start by squeezing your forehead for ten seconds.
  • Release the tension slowly for fifteen seconds.
  • Repeat this process, working your way down your body.

When your mind has stress, you might not notice all the tension in your body. This exercise ensures that every part of your body is as relaxed as possible.

A body scan is similar to the muscle relaxation above. Instead of tensing your muscles before relaxing them, you are merely focusing on every part of your body, in turn, to make sure that it is relaxed.

  • Sit comfortably or lay down. (This exercise is best done lying down.)
  • Take a few deep breaths and notice how they feel.
  • Focus your attention on your toes; notice how they feel.
  • Make sure your toes are completely relaxed before moving on.
  • Move up to your feet and then work your way up to your head.
  • Make sure that every part is relaxed before moving on.

This scan is beneficial to do during any part of the day. Whenever you feel a bit stressed, quickly scan your body and make sure that you aren’t carrying any tension in your back, stomach, shoulders or neck, which are the usual places where stress settles.

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