Healthy Holidays Challenge: 3-Minute Midday Meditation

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

When you’re feeling stressed, this simple do-anywhere meditation can help relax you in no time.

The holidays have a way of throwing even the most dedicated health enthusiast off their game. Not this year! All month long, follow along as SilverSneakers LIVE trainer Shannon Thigpen unwraps our best tips for staying healthy, happy, and, yes, even calm during this busy time of year. Check in here and on our Facebook page for new activities to try. Here’s to your healthiest, happiest holiday season ever!    

When your brain seems too busy, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  

“But there’s a simple fix — a few minutes of meditation,” says SilverSneakers LIVE trainer Shannon Thigpen. 

“Daily meditation has been shown to help bring on feelings of calm more easily,” Shannon says.  

Emotional well-being and fitness go together! With SilverSneakers, you can choose from dozens of different Community classes, visit a participating fitness location, or join one of 20+ SilverSneakers LIVE online classes. Check your eligibility here. 

The Health Benefits of Meditation 

Meditation can help trigger the body’s relaxation response, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). That’s one reason why meditation has been linked with lower blood pressure, relief from anxiety, pain relief, and more, reports the APA.  

Better sleep is another area where meditation can play a role. A 2019 analysis of meditation programs for people who experience trouble sleeping, such as insomnia, found that mindfulness meditation can improve the quality of people’s sleep. The study’s authors credit meditation’s ability to increase self-awareness and self-compassion.  

Shannon recommends meditating for a few minutes as part of your nightly pre-bedtime routine. 

There’s even evidence linking regular meditation to healthier lifestyle choices, according to research published in 2019 in the journal PLOS One. For the study, adults were taught mindful meditation and other mindfulness-based techniques to help lower blood pressure.  

One year after a group went through the meditation training, they reported improvements in self-awareness, physical activity and eating habits — as well as their ability to regulate their emotions.  

“Meditation works for your body and your mind — whether you’re stressed or not,” Shannon says. “It helps you handle everyday life and teaches you how to quiet the negative self-talk that can wear you down.” 

How to Use the 3-Minute Midday Meditation 

Perhaps the best part about meditation is that it only takes a few minutes to start to reap the benefits.  

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Press play on the video above to follow along as Shannon leads you through a 3-minute guided meditation that you can do anywhere, and at any time of day.  

Here are the basic steps to get started: 

  1. Find a comfortable, quiet spot. You can be seated or lying down in bed or on a floor mat. 
  2. Start to breathe slowly in and out. Close your eyes, if you’d like. 
  3. As you continue to breathe slowly in and out, imagine the thoughts in your head turning to gently falling snowflakes. 
  4. Feel the tension begin to melt away. 
  5. Keep your shoulders down, away from your ears, and relaxed.  
  6. Gradually begin to soften the muscles in your face, neck, chest, arms, and on down to your legs and toes. 
  7. As you go, focus on feeling vibrant and confident, yet calm and refreshed. 
  8. Feel grateful for renewed strength, wellness, and peace in this moment. 
  9. When you’re ready, open your eyes. 
  10. Take a few more deep breaths before you get up. 

Bonus Challenge: Try a SilverSneakers LIVE Mindfulness & Meditation Express Class 

This 15-minute online group class is a great way to try out new mindfulness techniques from the comfort of your couch, but with a trained instructor on hand who can answer questions. Check your eligibility, view the current schedule, and RSVP here.    

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