It seems everything is getting shorter these days: Pringles cans, Jennifer Lopez’s hair, and how long we should spend meditating.
Hence the rise of the 12-in-12 meditation method, which is already a contender for the biggest wellness trend of 2024.
Stress is the body’s natural response to a perceived threat. It triggers a sequence of events. Our fight-or-flight response kicks in, and cortisol is released for increased energy. Kept in check, cortisol can be useful. But if too much is produced, it can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health. Headaches, high blood pressure, sleep problems, and a reduction in sex drive are just some of the symptoms we experience when cortisol production is nudged into a higher gear.
With 74% of UK adults feeling stressed or overwhelmed, the tantalizing promise is that 12 minutes of mindfulness per day is enough to reduce anxiety levels and yield benefits such as increased focus, creativity, calm, and resilience.
This magic number is endorsed by big players in the wellness space, including Apple, which has launched an entire series of podcasts around 12-Minute Meditation, and supermodel favorite Bodyism.
“When practiced properly, meditation helps you tune into your physical body, still your mind, and regulate your heartbeat, which can significantly reduce anxious thoughts and feelings,” Deanna Brash, general manager of Bodyism, tells Glamour. “It stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system, which encourages your body to relax and helps regulate our digestive system.
“Studies have found that meditation can also reduce the risk of heart disease while strengthening our immune system, and is associated with anatomical brain changes that can help prevent cognitive decline,” she continues.
This all sounds like a case for incorporating a speedy mindfulness practice into your daily routine. So how does 12-in-12 meditation method work?
There are essentially two approaches you can take: You can do 12 minutes straight once a day, or you can break it down to bite-size, 60-second sessions once every hour (Headspace offers a good one-minute destressing meditation).
Here are Brash’s tips.
How to do 12 minutes of meditation once a day
- Start small and work your way up. Try two minutes of meditation for a week; then build to three minutes over the following week.
- Find a place where there is no distraction; adding meditation to your bedtime or wake-up routine can be highly beneficial as there tends to be less distraction at these times of day. It is also the perfect way to wind down or set yourself up for a great day.
How to do 60 seconds of meditation every hour
- One of my favorite ways to meditate, still my mind, and regulate my heartbeat is to practice heart-rhythm meditation. Place your fingers on your pulse, close your eyes, and regulate your breathing to match your heartbeat.
- Combine heart-rhythm meditation with box breathing to gradually slow a rapid pulse. In other words, breath in for four beats, hold for four beats, exhale for four beats, hold for four beats.
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