We’ve all heard of the benefits of meditation, but how many of us actually do it? For many, the idea of meditation may seem daunting, boring, or we simply can’t find the time to carve out an hour of our day for a meditation session.
That’s where micro-meditation comes in!
What is Micro-Meditation?
Micro-meditation is the practice of meditating in brief increments throughout the day. Rather than spending up to an hour meditating in a class or at home, micro-meditations allow you to reap the benefits of meditation in just a few seconds to a few minutes.
Micro-meditation is mindfulness that can easily be worked into a daily routine. It can be done anywhere, at any time without needing to schedule a time specifically to accomplish it. Micro-meditation can be done while you eat your lunch, brush your teeth, or commute to work.
Why We Need Exercises like Micro-Meditations
According to the World Health Organization, the cases of mental health conditions and substance use disorders made a 13% jump in just one decade from 2007 to 2017. Those statistics have only risen higher with events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, political conflicts, and economic downturn.
All these events have affected our daily lives, and caused elevated stress levels. In 2022, the mental health of two out of every five individuals was reported to be only fair or poor. Many expected their stress levels to increase in the coming year.
Stress is a normal part of life, but how people cope and adapt to stress makes a big difference on how it affects their health.
That is where micro-meditations can make a big difference. We need strategies to care for our mental health.
The Benefits of Micro-Meditation
Just like traditional meditation, micro-meditation helps to reduce stress, anxiety, pain, and depression. It helps people recenter their mind and become present while giving your mind a brief rest from the stressors of life. In just a few seconds to a few minutes, this practice allows you to jump right back into your everyday routine more relaxed, attentive, and energized than before.
This type of meditation improves your mental fitness. It sharpens your cognitive function and decision making skills and improves your resiliency to the ups and downs of daily life. With the incorporation of micro-meditations, people are less affected by stressful situations when they come their way.
One of the best things about micro-meditation is that it can be worked into even the busiest schedules and fitting it in will actually improve your productivity throughout the day.
Why It Works
Negative feelings and thoughts caused by stress and anxiety feed on themselves and make it easy to spiral into a whirlwind of negative cognitions. Practicing mindful, short meditations can help give you a brief but intentional pause to stop that spiral, refocus, and move forward.
Break the Bond of Emotions and Reason
Emotions are imbued in our reasoning and decision making abilities. Micro-meditation helps break the tie from your current emotions to give you perspective, bring you back to the present, and make rational decisions.
Stimulate Mental Recovery
When someone sustains a physical injury, they don’t just continue working out with that injury. They rest because running on a sprained ankle or lifting weights with a pulled muscle is only going to cause more harm.
Stress, anxiety, and depression is akin to a mental injury. Neglecting the pain can cause more hurt, and continue to get worse.
If you are getting inundated with negative thoughts, micro-meditation can help give you the mental rest you need to prepare you for what you need to tackle throughout the day.
Some Micro-Meditation Techniques to Try
The goal of micro-meditation is to briefly step away from your daily tasks to focus on the present moment. It encourages you to focus on your thoughts, emotions, sensations, and environment to bring awareness to your present state of being.
There are a lot of ways to do this but here are a few suggestions.
Focus on your breath. Take deep breaths and practice breathing exercises. Perform a body scan and notice how each body part feels while progressively releasing tension in each one while breathing deeply.
Tap into your senses. Take note of the color of the sky, the feeling of your sweater, the sound of the train, or the smell of your shampoo.
Eat mindfully. Keep nutrition in mind when you reach for a snack. Some foods boost our energy and mood, while others make us feel lethargic.
Find Comfort Nearby. Keep a comforting object with you or have a happy place to go to in your mind. Focus on this and only this with gratitude and appreciation for a moment.
Clear your mind. Let whatever thoughts come in be acknowledged, accepted without judgment, and then released.
Use Tactile Distractions. Rub your thumb along the pad of another finger and notice the ridges of your fingerprint.
Manifest and Affirm. Have a positive phrase or manifestation in your mind and repeat it in your head for a few moments.
Keep searching online resources and talk to your counselor about micro-meditation exercises to manage stress, promote relaxation, and regulate your emotions.
Ground Yourself at Inner Balance Counseling
Micro-meditation is not just a fad and can have real benefits when utilized consistently throughout your day. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, or upset, step back for a moment and perform your micro-meditation before returning to your day.
It is important to find micro-meditation exercises that work for you and fit your routine. Inner Balance Counseling can help teach you different strategies and find your perfect fit.