Spending hours sitting in stillness can feel daunting—and the need to do so is a big myth about meditation. Now there's a popular variation on the stress-relieving strategy that's all about getting calm fast. Turns out even briefly seeking serenity has proven health benefits: One study found that just 25 minutes alleviates tension, while others prove a short stint relieves pain and improves anxiety and depression. Several studios even provide the space for a quick fix. Los Angeles’ Unplug Meditation offers a 30-minute session for $22—sign up per class, no long-term commitment required. Meditate Yoga & Meditation Center in Chicago has half-hour post-work classes for just $1.
Both in and out of the studio, a sped-up practice for newbies dubbed mindfulness meditation helps you be more present in each moment. “People mistakenly think you have to shush your thoughts,” says Dean Sluyter, author of Natural Meditation: A Guide to Effortless Meditative Practice. “My slogan is ‘Whatever is there, just rest aware.’” To fit tranquillity into your day, take as many minutes as you can for Sluyter’s simple techniques.
At work: Relax your gaze around the edges of your computer monitor and pay attention to the process of breathing in and out.
While walking: Keep your mind on every step you take, from your heel striking the earth and the ball touching down to the other foot rising.
In bed: Lie on your back, close your eyes and you’ll see a subtle glow—focus on changes in its color and shape as you doze off.