5 Mini Meditations You Can Do in One Minute

Updated: 5 days ago



There's an old zen proverb that goes something like this...


"You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day — unless you're too busy: then you should sit for an hour."

But what if you really don't have 20 minutes? Or 10? Or even five? What if you're so busy right now that one minute of mindfulness REALLY IS all you can afford?


Well, lucky for you—and lucky for just about anyone actually—one minute is all you need.


What is a mindful minute?


A mindful minute is any meditation exercise you can do in 60 seconds or less.


You can completely reset your mindset by doing these mini-meditation exercises, which all have one thing in common. They work by redirecting your conscious attention from the swirling thoughts in your head to the simple task you are performing or the activity you are engaged with.


Here are 5 mini-meditations you can do in 60 seconds or less.


  1. Sitting meditation

  2. Watching the birds and smelling the flowers

  3. The raisin meditation exercise

  4. Freestyle meditation

  5. Walking meditation


Mindful Disclaimer: Please don't ever judge yourself based on how long you can meditate. Instead, try your best to focus all your attention on whatever it is you are doing, not the results of what you are doing. It's not about succeeding or failing. Mindfulness practice isn't something you measure but something you experience.


Sitting


The trick to this mini-meditation exercise is that there is no trick.


You’re just sitting.


But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. The hardest things to do in life are oftentimes the simplest, especially when we live in a relentlessly distracting world as TV ads, emails, texts, and smartphone notifications compete for our attention.

To get the most out of this one-minute sitting meditation, consider turning off or muting any electronic devices you have access to that could distract you. If you are in a public space, treat other people and their electronic devices as background noise. They are like passing clouds—just as detached from you as you are from them.

Once you have set all distractions off to the side—or changed your relationship with them—follow these five simple steps.


  1. Find a comfortable place to sit. It isn't very important where you sit as long as you can sit up straight with your feet flat on the ground.

  2. Place both hands somewhere that feels balanced, preferably somewhere below the belly. I like to clasp my hands lightly together over my lap.

  3. Close your eyes. You might find that as you close your eyes, your auditory and haptic senses become automatically heightened. Consider taking a gentle note of this, and then let it go.

  4. Focus now on your breathing. Follow each breath in and out. Notice how the air you're breathing in feels brisk to your nostrils and warmer when you breathe out.

  5. Slowly open your eyes and resume activities if you'd like.


Don't stop if you don't want to.


You can continue to focus on your breathing after one minute has passed. Or, consider switching your attention back to how the environment around you sounds and feels. Play around with these sensations as if you were a child playing with a new toy.


Watching the birds and smelling the flowers


Think of the natural environment as a training ground for your awareness as you meditate. This quick mindfulness exercise is both therapeutic and simple because it offers you the opportunity to step outside of your daily to-dos and observe what nature is doing instead.


Again, make sure to turn off or mute all electronic devices you have access to. Set your phone off to the side before you start.


  1. Begin by exposing yourself to the elements. Get outside, or at least bring the outside in. Open your windows, step outside, soak in the summer sun, or feel the chill of the winter breeze.

  2. Keep your eyes open at first. Just observe everything around you. How does it make you feel? Are you in a relaxing environment or are the elements harsh? Is there a lot going on outside or is there little to see?

  3. Close your eyes if it's safe to do so. Pay more attention now to anything you can smell, hear, and feel coming from the outside.

  4. Take a few deep breaths in and out. Keep your eyes closed while you breathe. As you pay attention to your breath, notice how everything else fades to the background.

  5. Slowly open your eyes. Pay close attention to the way you feel as all of your senses return to your conscious awareness. Does the natural environment somehow appear different to you now than when you started this exercise?


Though this meditation can't literally increase the beauty of the natural world, it can help you to be more intentional about your relationship with it. When you set an intention to make the natural world your focus for even as little as 60 seconds, you'll notice that there is so much more to see.


If the world around you seems more beautiful now, it's not because the environment changed but because you changed.


The raisin meditation exercise



The raisin meditation exercise was originally meant to be a 30-minute long ordeal—as part of Jon Kabat-Zinn's eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training program.


But you can reap tremendous value from spending just a minute of your time eating an inconspicuous little raisin. The degree of mindful attention given to each of the steps below matters far more than the amount of time you dedicate to this quick mindfulness exercise.


  1. Hold the raisin with your thumb and index finger. Pretend you've never seen a raisin before.

  2. Look closely at the raisin. Observe its shape, size, color, etc.

  3. Carry the raisin in the palm of your hand. Roll it around a little. How does it feel in your hand?

  4. Smell the raisin. Notice how the raisin smells. Is the smell intense? Subtle? Is this smell triggering any other bodily responses? Do you have an urge to eat the raisin?

  5. Gently place the raisin in your mouth, but don't chew it yet. Position the raisin in different areas of your mouth. Put it underneath your tongue, in between your teeth, behind the back of your lips, etc.

  6. Take one or two slow bites into the raisin, but don't chew too hard. Notice how the raisin tastes after you begin to chew it. Has the flavor changed or intensified? After those first two bites, continue to chew like you normally would.

  7. Swallow the raisin consciously. Pay attention to the way it feels as you swallow. Is this a satisfying feeling? Can you still taste what is left of the raisin? Do you have an urge to swallow again?

  8. Consciously follow the raisin as it moves through your body. See if you can detect the location of the raisin as it moves from your throat to your stomach.


This was only a 60-second exercise, but I'd always encourage you to do your own deep dive into mindful eating. Making it a habit to eat your food in this way can improve your relationship with food. It helps you to be more intentional about what you eat and how you eat it.


Freestyle meditation


This mini-meditation exercise is just as the title implies. By co-opting daily activities into your mindfulness practice, you can meditate anywhere on the spot. The cool part about this exercise is that you can remain inconspicuous as you do it. No one has to know what you're up to.


All you are doing in this quick mindfulness exercise is paying strict attention to what you are doing in the present moment. You're taking the time to shift your awareness from whatever thoughts are swirling around in your head to the activity you are doing in the here and now.


The activity could be anything from:


  • Washing the dishes

  • Eating toast

  • Making dinner

  • Tieing your shoes

  • Driving to work

  • Walking from your living room to your kitchen

  • Making coffee

  • Etc.


Here's how to do it.


We'll use the example of washing the dishes. It doesn't matter how you prefer to do the dishes. It's the attention you're putting into this activity that matters most. Obviously, if you have a dishwasher, the way you do the dishes will differ from someone who doesn't have one.


  1. Pay close attention to the number of dishes that have accumulated in your sink. You might have some impulse to moan or groan about how long this is going to take. Instead, just look at the dishes. Observe them as they are, not how you want them to be.

  2. Focus on what your hands are doing when preparing the dishes to be rinsed and then cleaned. Observe how your body seems to instinctively know how to perform this task. Marvel at the sheer number of ways your arms, hands and fingers move when manipulating the dishes.

  3. Notice how the dishes are in the process of becoming clean. Realize that tomorrow when you reach for something to eat, it will be possible to set it on a clean plate because of all the subtle yet complex sequence of events happening right now that you are making a conscious effort to set in motion.

  4. Notice the temperature of the water, or the texture of any china, silverware or food storage containers. Does the texture of these objects change when you add soap to them? Warm water vs. cold water? Dry vs wet?

  5. Observe the dishes after they have been cleaned. Look at what you've accomplished. Don't move on to the next activity just yet. Sit for a moment with whatever feelings arise in response to this activity being over.


Doing the dishes typically takes longer than one minute, so think of the steps above as standalone free-range meditations, all worthy of at least one minute of your conscious attention.


Walking Meditation


Mindful walking was popularized in the west by the late Thich Nhat Hanh who is also known as the father of mindfulness. It is a practice meant to reconnect us with nature.


The practice of mindful walking is a profound and pleasurable way to deepen our connection with our body and the earth. -Thich Nhat Hanh

Hanh would say it doesn't matter where you're walking as long as you're walking with reverence for Mother Earth. Walking is sacred because you are touching her with each step.


During this walking meditation exercise, pour all of your conscious attention into the steps below.


  1. As you begin walking, pay close attention to each step. Walk slowly. Take time to feel the surface beneath your feet.

  2. Breathe in and out. Count the number of steps you take on your inhale. Now count the number of steps you take on your exhale.

  3. Now try to match the steps you take with your breath. For example, as you breathe in for a count of three, take three steps. As you breathe out for a count of three, take another three steps. Maintain this steady rhythm as you walk.

  4. You can even say a simple but meaningful phrase with the same number of syllables as the rhythm of your breathing. For example, "As I breathe, I am loved." It doesn't matter what you come up with of course. It could even be a silly phrase like, "My feet stink, need a bath."


I wanted to briefly mention that Thich Nhat Hanh recently passed on January 22, 2022, but his legacy lives on through us as we choose to walk mindfully and with reverence for Mother Earth.



As Thich Nhat Hanh said in the video above, "Walk as if you were the happiest person in the world. Each step brings you back to the present moment, which is the only moment."


Moving Forward


Though these are my personal favorite mini-meditation exercises, there are so many more out there to discover. Consider trying these for yourself and let me know if they work for you in the comments below.


Which one was your favorite?


You can also be creative and come up with your own one-minute mindfulness exercises. Please feel free to share any micro-meditations you've discovered on your mindfulness journey.