A regular formal meditation habit will greatly increase your chances of experiencing the benefits.
In your day and age, it might be a tall order to make additional time to meditate.
There is a joke, trying to reduce stress using meditation can be stressful in the beginning. Because you have to make time to meditate regularly.
And many times, your inability to make time for things is the very reason you are stressed out and seeking help.
So what do you do? Here’s where informal meditation or mindfulness practices can help.
I’ll explain one such practice today. It’s called STOP.
You can say it’s a momentary meditation. And you can try it as many times you remember during the day.
STOP is an acronym and stands for Stop, Take a deep breath, Observe and Proceed.
The whole practice doesn’t take more than 6 seconds.
Try it when you are feeling rushed or frenetic!
- S: Stop, Take a break. It’s a mental break.
- Stop and recall, you will take a few moments out of the busyness to check-in to the present moment.
- You can stop physically, but you don’t have to.
- T: Take a deep breath.
- A quick short inhalation and a slow long exhalation.
- Inhalation excites vagus nerve and increases heart rate and blood pressure.
- Exhalation relaxes vagus nerve, which decreases heart rate and blood pressure.
- Optimize the breath for the most relaxation by short inhalation & long exhalation.
- O: Observe something intentionally for a moment or two.
- Pay attention to or observe a physical sensation in the present moment.
- One option is to pay attention to or observe the sensation of touch you feel at the bottom of your feet if you are standing up or sitting in a chair.
- You can also pay attention to the tension in the shoulders, clenching of the fists or any other sensation that you can notice.
- If all else fails, just observe the breath for a moment.
- P: Proceed.
- Proceed or go back to where you were before you started this exercise.
The whole thing doesn’t take more than 6 seconds.
So, let’s try it.
Stop, check-in the present moment. Where is your mind?
Take a deep breath. Relatively shorter inhalation and relatively longer exhalation.
Observe something intentionally. Anything.
Let me know in the comment what did you observe? Or if the exercise didn’t make sense, let me know that.