Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Five minutes of meditation a day changed my life. As a result I have been able to gain more control over my mind and thought processes in order to change my mindset, and, in turn, change my life. Through this change, I was empowered to make the transition towards greater self-love and clarity from within. It has taken a lot of time and effort to gain control over my mind and thoughts, and, of course, it’s still a daily work in progress. I am not going to lie and say I have mastered my mind completely and never have negative thoughts or worries. But, I’m going to share with you what has worked for me in my own life and the lives of my patients and clients as a wellness consultant at leading hospitals and health institutes.
I achieved peace of mind through intentions and five-minute exercises that I’ll share here. I have been greatly inspired by the major transformations that have occurred in the lives of my patients and clients around the world through these practices. They all began with committing just five minutes a day towards a meditation and mindfulness practice.
Take 5 Minutes to Meditate
It always amazes me to see how this commitment of a daily five-minute meditation and mindfulness practice, which seems so small, has such a powerful and lasting impact. I have witnessed patients previously so dedicated to their daily drinking routine make radical changes to their relationship with alcohol. I have seen the impact just five minutes a day of meditation has made on people’s toxic relationships and negative choices. My favorite phrase over the past few years has been an affirmative, “You have five minutes to meditate”. We have to learn to let go of the excuses we make about not having enough time. On your deathbed, you are not going to recall all of the reasons that you didn’t do the things you wanted to or all of the excuses you gave yourself. You are just going to remember a life left unfulfilled. The most common regret of people on their deathbeds is that they wished they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves, honoring their own needs and wants instead of those of others. Hindsight is a valuable tool, and sometimes it is too late to rewind the clock to make a change, but it is not too late for you.
Finding 5 Minutes
I want you to spend a few minutes thinking about how you can create just five minutes in your day to dedicate to a daily meditation practice. Visualize yourself doing your five-minute practice each morning. Think about setting your alarm five minutes earlier than you usually do or arriving at work a few minutes earlier so you can complete the practice in your car or at your desk before your workday begins. You also have the option to take five minutes when you get home, before dinner, or before bed. Think about how you can commit to making meditation a daily part of your life and committing right now to when you will find the time to add this five-minute practice into your routine. Once you have completed this visualization, write down when and where you will be completing your practice from today forward.
Believe in Yourself
You have the power today to start reprogramming your mind away from excuses towards a greater commitment to your happiness and inner peace. But first, you must believe that you have the power to change your life before inner and outer transformation can really begin. Thought is vibration, and all of our thoughts actually have a frequency attached to them that attracts others like it. But, you have the power to control the direction of your thoughts and the flow of your life from negative to positive through meditation and mindfulness. If you heal your mind, you can help heal your body and your life. Learning to trust your intuition and be guided from within is pivotal to this process. Through meditation and mindfulness, you can learn to tune in to your instincts, trusting you will not be deterred by any obstacles that cross your path.
Let Go of Perfection
Meditation is not about striving for perfection but about embracing our own imperfections with humility, love, and non-judgment. If you aren’t meditating because you think you’re not doing it right, let that go. Perfection isn’t the goal. Failure is a necessary part of the journey toward success. You may not succeed the first time you try, or the tenth time, and this may even relate to your meditation practice! Making mistakes is part of the journey. Without the mistakes that you make along your path and the learning that comes from picking yourself up after you stumble or fall, you don’t learn the valuable lessons you need to grow stronger and more resilient.
If you feel that you have hit rock bottom, welcome that feeling instead of resisting it, since the only way forward is up. You may be avoiding meditation because you don’t want to be reminded of things you are resisting, but meditation and mindfulness will teach you to tune in and actually listen to what your intuition is telling you. The more you can learn to surrender and follow your inner voice, even if everybody around you is telling you something different, the more you are able to realize your truth and start to live it.
The 5-Minute Meditation That Will Change Your Life
Choose not to begin your day by scrolling through endless social media feeds or checking texts and emails immediately upon rising. Instead, devote at least five minutes as soon as you wake up to this simple and easy mindfulness practice, setting the intention for your day ahead to begin with a new outlook of peace and balance.
Take a few minutes as soon as you rise to draw your attention to your breath. As you lie or sit up in your bed, close your eyes and focus your attention and awareness on your breath in your body. Feel the breath moving upward on the inhalation, and feel it moving downward in your body on the exhalation. In doing so repeat your intention to let go of excuses and live your best life to yourself three times. First aloud, then at a whisper, and finally silently, say “I let go of excuses.” Remember this intention throughout your day. It will serve as a great reminder to be more present and mindfully aware.
Adapted from Meditation with Intention: Quick and Easy Ways to Create Lasting Peace, by Anusha Wijeyakumar (Llewellyn, January 2021).
Anusha Wijeyakumar is a motivational speaker on the science of mindfulness and meditation. She is the Wellness Consultant for Hoag Hospital in Orange County, California, where she is actively engaged in championing mindfulness and meditation practices for maternal mental health programs, early risk assessment for breast & ovarian cancer prevention programs and breast cancer survivorship programs. Anusha is one of the first people to create a meditation program to be used in clinical research at Hoag Hospital.
Anusha has over 15 years of international senior management experience working for Fortune 50, 100 and 500 global corporations, charitable organizations & private companies in three continents. She holds a BA, MA, Diploma in Mentoring, Certified Professional Life Coach qualification, Registered Yoga Teacher/RYT with Yoga Alliance and is a Meditation Practitioner. Anusha leads yoga and meditation workshops across the USA and internationally and is part of the teaching faculty for a number of Yoga Alliance certified Yoga Teacher Training Courses across Southern California.
Health and social justice is at the heart of all that Anusha is involved with. Anusha is on the Board of Directors for the non-profit MOMS Orange County and is very engaged in working with inner city communities to bring the power of yoga for a healthy mind, body and spirit into these localities to nurture and empower change from within. Anusha recently co-founded a movement Womxn of Color + Wellness @wocandwellness which is focused on decolonizing wellness and making yoga and wellness more equitable, accessible, diverse and inclusive.