Writings from Christine

My One-minute Mini Meditations

by on April 5, 2019


I keep a full schedule as a therapist. Every minute of my workday is planned out in advance to make the most of a moment. I work four days a week, 10-12 hours each day and see on average 30 hours of clients. The rest of my time is consumed with phone calls, emails, preparations for court, training, writing, supervising and speaking.

But I’m obsessed with my breaks. Since I specialize in working with personality disorders, this type of client tends to need more attention and requires full concentration during a session on my part to be effective. My breaks are my sanctuary, they restore, energize, and ground me. It has taken several revisions of my schedule, but my office has finally settled on an hour lunch break, one afternoon break, and another one just before evening.

Yet, despite my best efforts, my breaks are sometimes filled with all the extras that come with the job. Since most of this is unavoidable, I needed to devise a new strategy for making the most of my breaks. And along came the one-minute mini meditation concept. As a therapeutic method, meditation is one of my personal favorites but setting aside 30-minutes during the day is nearly impossible. But one-minute is possible.

All of these begin the same way. Sit upright in a chair with both feet flat on the floor or stand straight with weight equally distributed on both feet. Hands are down by your side. Eyes are focused outdoors, on a pleasant picture, or closed. Set a timer for 60 seconds and begin.

Breathing Meditation

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Take a couple of deep breaths being careful to breathe from the stomach and not the chest.
  3. Breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  4. Become aware of your breath as it travels in your body, allow it to fill your lungs and empty them.
  5. As you breathe out, feel the release of any tension.
  6. If your mind slips away, gently direct it back to your breathing.
  7. Try breathing deeper each time you breathe.
  8. Open your eyes.

Emotion Release

  1. Look at a calm lake, ocean, or another body of water (this can be a picture of one).
  2. Take three very deep breaths in and out.
  3. Become aware of what you are feeling.
  4. Acknowledge that feeling and don’t reject or judge it, accept it.
  5. Say, “It’s OK that I feel that way, anyone in my position would feel this way as well.”
  6. Imagine taking that emotion from inside you and form it into a ball.
  7. Imagine throwing that ball into the water and watch as the ripples form and slowly move ashore.
  8. Take another deep breath, celebrate the release of the emotion, and look away.

Guided Imagery

  1. Close your eyes and take a couple of very deep breaths.
  2. Imagine standing in a shower and as the water washes over you, it takes all the tension from your muscles away.
  3. Now think of a place that is peaceful to you (it could be a meadow, beach, forest, or even a city).
  4. Imagine standing there and look all around using all 5 senses to take in the place.
  5. Imagine turning around to see all around you.
  6. Imagine walking towards something and then sitting down for a while.
  7. Take another couple of deep breaths as if you are breathing in your surroundings.
  8. Open your eyes.

Grounding Exercise

  1. This is best-done standing and looking outside or a picture of the outdoors.
  2. Take a couple of deep breaths and become aware of how grounded your feet are to the floor.
  3. Become aware of any tension, stress, or emotion in your body.
  4. Imagine your breath is going to that area and releasing any build-up.
  5. Become aware of your surroundings, noticing small details that are often missed.
  6. Be grateful for one small detail.
  7. Feel a connection to that one detail.
  8. Scan your environment again, breath, and then look away.

Mindful Eating

  1. Take a piece of chocolate or a raisin and hold it in your hand.
  2. Take a couple of deep breaths.
  3. Put the food in your mouth slowly.
  4. Smell the food, sense it, and savor each bite.
  5. Try to smile between bites to slow down the time.
  6. Become aware of the sensations from eating.
  7. Let the food linger for a while and then swallow it.
  8. Smile after eating the food.

Loving-Kindness Exercise

  1. Look at a pleasant picture.
  2. Take a couple of deep breaths.
  3. Repeat very slowly, “May I be happy, well, and filled with kindness and peace.”
  4. Whatever negative thoughts pop into your head, bat them away.
  5. Think of it as blessing yourself.
  6. You can substitute “I” for the name of another person.
  7. Take another couple of deep breaths and look away.

Positive Self-Talk

  1. Look at a pleasant picture or look outside.
  2. Take a couple of deep breaths.
  3. Repeat slowly, “I am strong, patient, and kind.” Or “My body is efficient; it burns fat.” Or “My body is smart; it can heal.” Or “My body doesn’t need to hold on to emotion, tension, or stress.” Basically, you can use any statement that empowers you.
  4. Repeat these statements over and over while breathing deeply.
  5. Feel the words fill your body.
  6. Breaths and look away.

These seven one-minute mediations are my favorites. After doing them for several weeks, I could feel a difference in my ability to focus, stay energized, and present. I encourage you to try them as well.

Posted under: Writings from Christine

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