When I tell people I meditate, they often ask me, “how do you have time to meditate?” or they say, “That sounds wonderful, I wish I had time to meditate, but I’m pretty busy.” I understand this, as when I started, I usually carved out about 30 minutes to an hour to fully “meditate.” As I learned more about meditation, I realized that meditation isn’t about laying on a mat for 30 minutes with my legs in a pretzel; it was about reducing stress and the negative feelings I had throughout the day. This realization helped me develop the practice that I call: “The meditation minute.”
To learn this, you need to start at the beginning. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years by people all over the world. Meditation is a different experience for everyone, I meditate to become closer to self and help expel the negative emotions I feel throughout my day. Like every skill, meditation takes practice, as it is a skill that helps with emotional wellness. That word always scares people, “I have to practice,” they ask me. Yes, you don’t pick up a basketball and challenge Lebron to a 1v1 because you learned the rules of the game. Emotional skill is often overlooked because you can’t see the progress in the sense that you can with physical skill; therefore, it becomes more daunting to learn any emotional skills. This is why I advise people not to start with the 30-minute meditation sessions that I went through. The best thing you can do is start small, like one minute!
Throughout your day, I imagine you have some downtime. This time could be in between classes/work, commuting from location to location, the time during lunch breaks at work, or even when you’re waiting for something or someone, such as meetings and whatnot. These are perfect times to meditate! I must remind you that there are many different ways to meditate, so finding what works for you is crucial. However, instead of finding ways to kill this time by checking social media or the news, you can meditate! What I like to do is take a minute to close my eyes, make sure I’m sitting down somewhere or if I am standing, I like to lean on a wall, make sure that my hands and feet are still, and then for one minute I solely focus on my breathing. That’s it! No mats, no pretzel legs, just you and your breathing for only one minute.
The beauty of this is that you can do it anywhere at any time. Also, you can modify it to adjust to you! Here are some suggested modifications that I do myself:
When walking, listen to music with no lyrics and feel what the music is trying to say.
Think about my loved ones. How is their health? How am I helping or hindering?
Draw a picture in my notebook. What am I drawing, and how does it reflect how I feel?
When the weather allows, do this in nature. What does the earth feel like, or the wind?
These are just some of the ones that I modified to fit what I like, and you can do the same for yourself. Don’t fall into the fallacy of there being one right way to meditate; ultimately, this is a tool that helps you achieve emotional stability. If you are religious, I know saying prayers also help with emotional comfort, which is an avenue that I have yet to explore. The best thing you can do is find something that works for you and build on the foundation you set.
Since meditation is a skill you have to work on, you have to repeat the process. Do this as many times as you need to, as often as you would like. The beauty is that you are getting a meditation session that you can split up throughout the week. If you want to meditate once a week for 30 minutes, that’s great! You could also meditate for a minute four times a day for one minute and have the same duration. Both have benefits, and both help. Make sure to experiment with what is best for you as a person, and maybe try to slip in those one-minute meditation minutes to see how it works for you.