High on stress but pressed for time? Same here. Even meditation teachers trained in the art of self-soothing don’t always have bandwidth to unwind for an hour. That’s why it’s so important to keep a handful of five-minute meditations in your back pocket.

Centering ourself in these current times requires just minutes of out of each day. A quick five-minute meditation practice can help you move from the sympathetic nervous system response of ‘fight or flight’ into the parasympathetic nervous system response of ‘rest and digest’. This activation in the nervous system is triggered by slow and deep breathing. Not only does the concentrated breathing move you from stress to relaxation, but it also helps you tune into the present moment.

This really matters when the present moment may have you dwelling in a fear of the unknown. A lot of our anxiety can come from dwelling on the past and worrying about the what-ifs of the future. When you ground yourself into the present moment via a breathing technique and meditation, you eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress. Intrigued? Excellent. Get yourself comfortable, because we’ll unpack just how to let go with this practice our.

Five-minute meditation for Letting Go

1. Lie down and keep your chin up – For this meditation, lie down and stretch your arms out to the side of your body in a ‘T’ formation and slightly lift up your chin to the sky. “This position opens up the chest and neck where we hold a lot of tension and stress. When we feel anxious, it can feel hard to breathe, so opening up the chest counteracts that stress symptom.

2. Focus on your breathing – Now, we’re beginning to settling into the present moment. Do this by taking several deep breaths, and witness how the breath is moving in and out of your body.

3. Allow your eyes, forehead and jaw to soften – Melt away tensions you might be holding, and focus on the now.

4. Shift mouth breathing to nose breathing – Transition your breath into a deep inhale through your nose and as you exhale through your nose make the exhale twice as long as your inhale.

5. Introduce the mantra – Once you’ve established a good pace for this breathing technique, pair it with the mantra, ‘Let it go’. “Softly say these words in the back of your mind to help you release any stress and tension that may be weighing you down.

6. Wake up your body – Return back to the present moment by wiggling your fingers and toes and then gently opening your eyes.

There’s a reason why people tell you to just breathe when you’re feeling panicked. When we can get out of our mind and get into our body, and the breath can break down all of the stuck emotions in our system, we leave the breathwork session feeling clear, more powerful, more aligned, and just more awake. Weaving a breath-work meditation into your hectic day can be a very literal sigh of relief.

Peace and Love, Jim

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