You know you need to exercise your body to improve your health. But what about giving your mind a workout? Or should we say, a cool down. A strong, less-stressed mental state can be just as important to your well-being as bumping up your physical activity, considering research links chronic anxiousness to obesity and sleepless nights. Yet many of us still don’t put tension relief on our priority lists. In fact, one in five Americans say they never do an activity focused on helping them manage stress.
The great news is that exercising your mind doesn’t have to involve anything vigorous. Better yet, all you need to make it happen is a mere five minutes — plus one of these guided meditations.
Why You Need Meditation for Mental Strength
Many studies give meditation the seal of approval — and not just for stress relief. (Though it does provide a serious dose of calm.) Research has shown that a few minutes of mindfulness can enhance your focus, help you make healthier lifestyle choices and even catch better zzz’s. And all of these advantages can help bring down your stress levels.
To help you use meditation to hone in on these life improvements, we asked Kelsey Patel, reiki master and meditation healer at The Den Meditation in Los Angeles to create three five-minute guided sessions. Each one steers you toward a different goal: enhancing productivity, controlling cravings and getting quality sleep. So listen in to zone out.
5-Minute Guided Meditations to Help You Reach Your Goals
Whether you can’t concentrate at work, keep reaching for some chocolate cookies or you’re constantly unable to fall asleep at night, these three guided meditations from Patel will lovingly nudge you back on track. You don’t need anything to do them — simply sit at your desk or lie in bed, close your eyes and press play.
I Want to… Boost Productivity
“This is a great meditation to utilize when you need a boost. It helps you receive the feelings of space, breath, trust, support and new creativity,” Patel says. “If you’re feeling drained, anxious, worried or stressed or if your mind is in a thousand places telling you there’s not enough time or other limiting beliefs about yourself and your talents…this one’s for you.” Listen to it mid-workday or first thing before you tackle your day’s tasks.
I Want to…Cut Cravings
Before you reach for a sugar-filled snack, queue up this session. “Many times, cravings are an indicator of something deeper than just the immediate desire,” says Patel. “This mediation serves to help you go to that deeper place and explore a new territory of connection. There is a focus on self-love and self-awareness to help one identify where the craving is coming from so the choice can come from true mindfulness, rather than impulse or even self-sabotage.”
I Want to… Get Sound Sleep
We’ve all had those nights where our minds race and falling into a slumber seems near impossible. Well, let this meditation guide you right into dreamland. “The mind and body may carry unknown stressors, thoughts, feelings, experiences and moments from the day,” Patel explains. “This meditation serves to help lovingly release any tensions in the body and mind. It is intended to give the recipient permission to completely unwind, restore and replenish itself for a peaceful night’s sleep.” (Want more tips for getting sound zzz’s? Check out these seven must-adopt bedtime rituals.)