Most people we know, including ourselves, encounter seemingly endless stressful situations in their lives—from work, to health, to family and friends, to global issues and crises. More accurately, the situations themselves aren’t stressful, but our perception of them—the ways in which we think about and react to them—produces feelings of stress in us.

If you’re a regular meditator, you know the power of meditation to soothe the mind and calm the body. If you don’t meditate, you’ve probably thought from time to time that you “should” try it, because you’ve heard how it can help make life feel a lot less stressful.

The question usually comes down to this: How can we find the time to meditate in our already overloaded lives?

Here’s a new idea—and one that makes positive use of your cell phone:

Set your phone’s timer to 5 minutes. (This feature usually comes with the pre-installed alarm or stopwatch app, or download a free timer app.) For the alarm, choose the most pleasant sound available on your phone.

timer appNow, whenever you have a few minutes during the day—maybe in the morning before leaving the house, or while waiting for a meeting to begin—start your timer. This gives you 5 minutes to let go. You don’t need to think about how much time has passed or when you should end your meditation; just let your phone take care of that for you.

Sit quietly. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths, following the breath as it flows in and out of your body. Feel the chair or floor supporting you; know that it will be there this whole time to support you.

Now, listen. Listen for anything that sounds sweet, or calm, or soothing. Even if there are lots of other sounds around, listen very alertly for sounds that have a calming quality: the wind, a bird singing, leaves rustling, the sound of your own breath or heartbeat. If thoughts come in during your “5 minutes of bliss” (and they most likely will!), just notice them, without following them or holding onto them, and refocus your attention on any peaceful or soothing sounds you hear.

When the timer goes off, open your eyes, turn it off, and notice the difference in your state of mind. And know that your timer will be there for you anytime you have a few minutes to tune back into you.

If you liked this little exercise, our book 52 Prescriptions for Happiness offers several more rejuvenating “mini meditations” that will calm your body and mind in a matter of minutes.

Mali Apple & Joe Dunn

Thank you for being here! ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and The Soulmate Lover.