How to Center Yourself in 5 Minutes A Day Using Meditation

Simple Steps for Big Change

Prior to all the Sheltering in place 2020 has us doing, I bet your life was pretty busy. Too busy. In western society we wear our busyness like a badge of honor. Running from one activity to the next at the risk of mental exhaustion just to check one more thing off your to-do list. From day to day your life has been full of places to go, appointments to be kept, and work to be done. You often found yourself saying things like, I wish I had more time for this, that, or the other.

Priorities Changed Overnight

Enter Covid-19. A world pandemic leaving you with nothing but time. It took a moment for you to accept this new reality. You quickly adapted to keeping yourself busy by painting your house, redoing the bathroom, and posting Instagram shots of that amazing sourdough bread you nailed. For a sweet moment you thought you had this new reality down. But three weeks turned into three months and still we wait.

You started to realize that it was the complexity of your life that offered you escape. The more you had to do, the less you had to actually think about bigger questions bound to pop up in your life. You hadn’t provided space for yourself to grow spiritually, and now you need guidance.

Putting on the Breaks

Too much time on your hands and no tools to cope. Meditation sounds like something other people do, not you. Pausing your mind feels like a nightmare. You are still trapped in this go go go mindset even when the entire world is offering you a moment to slow down.

External factors are now on pause, giving you an opportunity to recharge. Your planner is not full, and the only unlimited distraction is the internet. You probably find yourself wondering, “How the heck am I supposed to cope with all this change?”

Deep rooted emotions flood to the surface in our individual lives and as a collective. This can be very uncomfortable, and you’re smart enough to realize that the only way out is through.

Changing Your Perspective

Things are tough right now, and with so much of this world, and our lives, out of control, it’s hard to even consider meditation. No worries. Centering your mind could be as simple as changing your perspective. Our true power lies within our vision of the world. Right inside your head is the greatest resource to recharge your life. Actively adjust to the way you view your situation. You’ll start a domino effect that allows you to be calm and patient with the circumstances around you.

It’s the first step in preparing yourself to re-center. It sends signals out into your life that suggest that you are paying attention, and moving your intentions inward. And now you start stepping away from your old patterns of being productive and begin to move into stillness.

Check in with your body.

Centering is about being okay with what’s happening around and within you, not emptying the mind. Checking in with your body is a great centering tool because it can be done at any time.

  • In line at the grocery store
  • At a red light
  • While you make dinner
  • Before you go to bed.

Every moment can be a check in moment.

This is done by simply paying attention to how your body feels. Start a scan of your body. Do it now. Maybe you close your eyes. Start with your head and travel down your body.

  • Are you holding tension in your forehead, behind your eyes, or in your shoulders?
  • Are you clenching your jaw?
  • Where does your body feel at ease?
  • Where do you notice any holding patterns?
  • Does anything ache or feel tight?
  • How’s your posture?

Observe your body without placing judgment on what you’re experiencing. Just notice it for being a part of where you are. As you practice doing this in little bits see if you notice a change in your breath pattern.

  • Notice if it slows down as you begin to focus inward.
  • Notice if your breathing is shallow or deep.

Practicing a daily body scan will help center you for a micro moment. This will increase your mindfulness of the present moment. A minute here a minute there, and suddenly you have 5 minutes of inward reflection a day.

Diving Inward

We literally live inside our minds, so diving into our thoughts can bring more attention to places that need work. Now that you are ready and comfortable sitting with yourself, bring attention next to your thoughts. As you scan the body and focus on your breath, see if you hear the thoughts surrounding the action. Notice where your body gets tense as certain thoughts come up. Notice what emotions you’ve attached to these thoughts. Again, work on noticing without placing judgement.

When you notice a thought survey the body:

  • Does this thought or emotion make my chest feel tight?
  • Is my throat open?
  • How does my stomach react?

Whatever emotions or feelings you experience, just experience the sensation. When you are able to observe yourself without judgement you invite room for change.

It’s happening in the moment … and you can practice in less than five minutes a day.

Practicing inward reflection and mindfulness helps us get comfortable with our life even when things are hard. Throw out the thought that you need to be happy and look at the positive side of things. Sit in your discomfort. Acknowledge it. Hold space for all your feelings to be processed. We haven’t been allowed to do this very much in society, so do it now. Do it for yourself. Your thoughts are all valid, and a map to unleashing a troubled mind.

Breathe

Look at you walking the mindful path. Easy peasy right? Now we add in the big kahuna, Breath. This is the heart of all things. It is our gateway to inner peace. It’s the only thing we do naturally without thought that we can learn to control. Super cool right? Let’s work on releasing tension just by exhaling with intention.

Let’s do this together. Take a deep breath in through the nose. Hold for two seconds, and exhale through the nose slowly. Get it all out, then hold empty at the bottom of your breath for two seconds. Take a few rounds and repeat this. Inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Being aware of the space inbetween. With every inhale see if you can breathe into any spots in your body that are tense. Like you’re trying to move breath through the tight spot. Then soften on your exhalation. Let that tension leave your body completely. Repeat this cycle as many times as feels right.

Focusing on your breath helps your whole body to slow down. Bringing you to a more centered space.

Putting it together

You have just babystepped your way into a meditation practice. Daily practices of conscious awareness trickle into big changes. Now it might not seem so intimidating to sit for five minutes at a time and just be. You’ve practiced all the skills to help you manage strong thoughts and emotions that pop up in life.

  • Sit
  • Survey your body
  • Pay attention to where you hold tension
  • Notice what thoughts and emotions you are experiencing without judgement
  • Use your breath to help move through the experience.

Yes your mind will wander. That’s okay. When you notice that it has wandered just bring it back to the breath.

Begin the journey of centering yourself by accepting this time as a gift. We didn’t realize we needed to slow down and re-evaluate, but life told us all we did. Slowly working on these mindful habits will redirect your life so that you are centered. You’ll be capable of calmly catching anything life throws your way.

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Mary Clymer

Mary Clymer

Breathwork Coach, Pulmonaut Explorer, & Content Creator. Taking it one breath at a time. Join me at BreathMindset, https://courses.heart-lightstudios.com/breath