A Quick and Simple 5-Minute Meditation

Stress Relief for When You're Short on Time

man meditating with headphones on next to his bed

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Meditation has many wonderful benefits for stress management. One of the most valuable aspects of meditation is that it can build resilience over time, but it can also help one feel less stressed in minutes if used as a tool to simply relax your body and mind.

It can also help you to get into the practice of responding to the challenges in your life from a more relaxed, mindful place rather than reacting to life's challenges out of fear, and it can help you to get in the practice of letting go of grudges and redirecting yourself away from rumination.

Despite the many benefits of meditation, it can be an intimidating practice to begin. Perhaps surprisingly, many people don’t try meditation because they believe it’s difficult to practice or only effective with regular, lengthy sessions. Not true!

Press Play for Advice On Meditation

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, featuring 'Good Morning America' anchor Dan Harris, shares a quick step-by-step process for beginners to try meditation. Click below to listen now.

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Meditation can be practiced in many ways, so there is bound to be a collection of techniques that resonate with each individual, and with each person's situation. For example, if you are a bath person, a tub meditation may be the perfect thing for your next bath; chocolate lovers may greatly enjoy a chocolate meditation. Those who like to move may prefer a walking meditation. 

And while you can receive the biggest gains from meditation with frequent practice, just five minutes of meditation actually can bring quick stress relief.

Steps for a Quick Meditation

If you only have five minutes for meditation, you can still make it work for you. So, whether you're just getting started or you want to try a quick meditation, here's how to implement it in your life.

Set Aside Time

Set a timer for five minutes, so you can relax and not worry about staying in meditation for ‘too long’, missing appointments. (If you have an iPhone, the Healing Music application can be used as a timer, though the regular timer that comes with most phones can also be useful.)

Relax Your Body

Just close your eyes and relax. Take a few deep breaths from your diaphragm and release the tension in your body. Focus on a five-count breath:

  1. Slowly inhale from the belly
  2. Then into ribs
  3. Then into chest
  4. Up into crown of the head
  5. Then gently hold the breath for the fifth count

Reverse this process on the exhale for another count of five, exhaling from the crown, chest, ribs, belly, pausing on the last bit of breath out of the body, and then begin again.

Try to visualize the tension leaving your body from your head to your feet, either as imagining that the stress is literally draining from you through your toes, escaping your body with every breath, or simply melting away.

Concentrating on your breath while you are imagining releasing your stress and tension helps give you something to focus on while also reaping the potent benefit of deep breaths.

Focus Your Mind

When you work on clearing your mind of thoughts, rather than focusing on ‘thinking of nothing’, focus on ‘being’, and when thoughts enter your mind, gently acknowledge them and let them go, returning your focus to the present moment again. If you focus on how well you are doing this, that becomes the focus. 

If you accept that constantly bringing your mind back to the present moment is the meditation, it will be much easier to keep your mind still.

Keep Going

Continue this for five minutes, and return to your day feeling more relaxed and refreshed. Simply focus on the sensations you are feeling in your body, focus on your breath, or focus on letting go. Try this meditation regularly, and you should feel less stressed overall.


Here are a few additional tips that will help you make the most of your meditation time.

  • Be sure you’re in a comfortable position; little nagging discomforts like scratchy clothes or an awkward sitting position can be a distraction from meditation.
  • Try not to get too focused on whether or not you’re ‘doing it right’. (This can actually make meditation more stressful!) Thoughts may often enter your head; the process of redirecting your focus to the present moment is where the benefit comes.
  • Play meditation music or use aromatherapy to enhance your practice. They aren’t necessary, but they can add to your experience if you can conveniently incorporate them.
  • Practice frequent meditation as a wonderful and effective stress management tool. Meditation has been used for both short-term calming (it can reverse your stress response pretty quickly) and long-term resilience (regular practice can help you become less reactive to stress),
  • Try to fit in longer meditation sessions (like 20 minutes or more) a few times per week for best results. Then, you will be more practiced with meditation in general, and these 5-minute sessions will have more of an impact when you need them!
2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bajaj B. Mediating role of resilience in the impact of mindfulness on life satisfaction and affect as indices of subjective well-being. Personality and Individual Differences. 2016;93:63-67. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2015.09.005.

  2. Hilt LM, Pollak SD. Getting out of rumination: comparison of three brief interventions in a sample of youth. J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2012;40(7):1157-65. doi:10.1007/s10802-012-9638-3

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.