It's useful to think of meditation as preventative medicine: Keeping up a regular practice is the best way to stay strong in the face of challenges. But sometimes you just need a quicker fix, like when...

You're about to lose your $@&%!
Instant karma: If the dog just threw up again—this time on your wedding gown—try repeating "patience" or "kindness" in your head or just above a whisper, says Lodro Rinzler, author of The Buddha Walks into the Office and cofounder of Mndfl meditation studio. "Repeating it will help you keep it top of mind," says Rinzler.

A stranger asks, "When are you due?" You're not pregnant.
Instant karma: Jill Blakeway, founder of the YinOva Center, finds the Taoist inner smile meditation particularly effective for quieting your inner critic. Take a few deep breaths and smile gently. Visualize the energy from your smile radiating to the space between your eyebrows. The gradually move it through your body, paying a little extra attention to any part you're not thrilled about. Finally, direct your smiling energy to a point about two inches below your navel, your energy center.

Your speech is in five minutes.
Instant karma: To counteract nerves and anxious energy, advises John Dunne, PhD, distinguished professor in contemplative humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, sit with your eyes lowered or closed and contemplate your navel. No, for real: Visualize a black dot at your navel, and after a few minutes, visualize the color draining away until it disappears completely. "As the black dot fades away," Dunne says, "you'll be grounded and calm."


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