Feeling that burnout halfway through the day? Or need a small break to curb that stress? Micro-meditation may be an answer.
Micro-meditation is a short, simple technique that consists of taking one to three minutes a day to remind yourself of your inner calm. It can be a mindfulness-based exercise, a breathing technique or a short meditation. The practice has ben dubbed a mindfulness tool for people who are too busy to meditate. To do it, first become aware of your breathing. Concentrate on your inhalations and exhalations, your diaphragm, and then your posture. The key here is to bring your breath into your belly. Try to avoid hunching over, and if your mind begins to wander, gently bring yourself back to your breath without reproving yourself for the tangent.
"If you allow your consciousness to drift toward your lower abdomen during breathing, then your breath will naturally delve deeper within you," master of meditation Ilchi Lee wrote in his book the "The Twelve Enlightenments for Healing Society." "If you allow your consciousness to experience the gratitude and joy of breathing, then your breath will naturally become light. Your breathing will naturally achieve a deep lightness as you consider inhaling as an expression of thanks to your body and exhaling as an expression of thanks to the Heavens above. Then you can lose yourself in your breath. You can follow your breath within and without your body, losing yourself until you become the breath itself."
When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed with too much to do and too little time, take a step back and micro-meditate. Just like cat naps, short breathers can help reboot your mind and body. Furthermore, many people notice that by regularly practicing this small meditation, they become calmer and more aware. The brain needs breaks – whether big or small – throughout the day, and stopping what you're doing for three minutes of this breathing-focused, soothing practice can, perhaps counterintuitively, increase your productivity.
What is Mindfulness?
For many people, "mindfulness" is an elusive term. Though the word is thrown around a lot, what does it actually mean? Mindfulness is the skill of being present and aware, moment by moment. In a fast-paced age that engenders a go-go-go mentality, it can be hard to stay focused on the here and now. Honing the skill of mindfulness – even through these brief relaxation moments – can reprogram the brain to be more rational and less emotional.
Once mastered, the technique is not limited to personal benefits. The calmer, more rational we become, the more kindness we can project onto others.
As MindBodyGreen eloquently explained: "The micro-meditation approach asks, 'What if you are a naturally compassionate, creative being, and it's actually the tension of constantly striving for more that causes problems?'"
Micro-meditation is also great way meditation beginners to acclimate to the technique, and for ambitious individuals to shift gears despite any challenges up the road.