Think you need 30 minutes in a quiet, dark room to get into the meditation frame of mind? Not necessarily. You can calm and center yourself anytime, anywhere, in the form of 60-second meditations. These are simple acts that carry the same health benefits as longer sessions of meditation—stress reduction, improved mood, and increased energy and immunity among them—but only take a few moments. From giving your attention completely to one daily task to focusing briefly on your breathing, try these 60-second meditations for a moment of head-clearing calm whenever you need it.
60 Seconds of Mindfulness
A common form of meditation that has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, depression and chronic pain, mindfulness is a focused awareness on an everyday activity, such as getting dressed or brushing your teeth. You can complete almost any task mindfully, and daily chores are a great option. Practice 60 seconds of mindfulness today while washing a dish. Rather than rushing through the act and moving on to the next one, slow down. Focus all of your senses on this one dish—feel the solid weight of it in one hand, and the lighter, softer sponge in the other. Smell the clean scent of dish soap and listen to the sound of the water running in the sink. Feel the soapy sponge as you move it across the plate, and watch your hands as they work to make it clean.
60 Seconds of Breathing
A quick meditation that can truly happen anywhere, focusing on your breath for just 60 seconds can lower your heart rate and reduce tension within your body. Set a reminder on your phone or computer for a time that will be convenient, and when it sounds, do nothing but breathe for a full minute. Close your eyes if you can and try to think only about each exhalation and inhalation, making them as deep and even as possible.
60 Seconds of Counting
If you already practice this age-old advice in moments of stress (and if you are a parent, there’s an excellent chance you do), you’ve been meditating without even realizing it! A simple act of concentration, counting to 10 is similar to mindful breathing in that it gives you a moment to focus on a calming action before moving on with your day. Try it at the start of a traffic-filled commute home, or before opening your front door to what you know will be a messy living room and hungry family. Simply close your eyes and count—either in your head or out loud—and try to visualize each number as you go to keep random thoughts from interrupting.
60 Seconds of Repeating a Mantra
Another form of meditation you may not realize you already practice, mantra meditation is commonly used by athletes and performers as a calming tool before a big game or opening night. Even more than breathing or counting, repeating a word or phrase that you find comforting and empowering gives your brain something to focus on, and studies have shown that mantra meditation can slow your heart rate and increase your sense of calm. Try this 60-second meditation before bed, when creeping thoughts about the activities of the previous day and tomorrow’s upcoming tasks can make falling asleep difficult.