Many doctors, even those who are interested in nutrition and exercise, often view stress management techniques as being less important to good health. They know that nutrition is important: You have to eat every day, so what you consume becomes part of your awareness. Most people know and appreciate the importance of exercise—and exercise looks productive, like you’re really doing something. But practicing meditation, even for a few minutes a day, is not often upper most on your mind.

Stress management techniques are probably not part of your daily routine, so it takes some effort to remind yourself to do them. Also, someone witnessing you sitting with your eyes closed might think you are not doing anything of importance when in reality you are making strides in keeping yourself focused and healthy.

In fact, stress management approaches are very powerful, as many research studies are documenting. Meditation, for example, is about focusing your mental energy. Focusing energy increases its power. When you can concentrate better, you can perform better—in school, in business, in sports. Whatever you do, you can do it more effectively and with less stress.

As with nutrition and exercise, you have many choices when it comes to practicing stress management techniques; it’s not all or nothing. The longer and more often you practice these techniques, the more benefits you receive.

Consistency is more important than duration—more is better, but even 1 minute of meditation each day can make a meaningful difference. Sometimes, when I’m busy and pressed for time, I’m tempted to skip meditating. Of course, the times that I’m busiest are usually the times that I need it the most.

So, I often play a little game with myself. I’ll ask, “Do I have just one minute to meditate?” If I don’t, then I have to admit to myself that my life is out of balance and it would be better to just go ahead and meditate, even for 1 minute.

Remember, even 1 minute of meditation has value. Have you ever listened to a song on the radio and found yourself humming it later in the day? It’s like that with meditation—you continue to meditate subconsciously throughout the day.

Looking for other ways to live a healthier, happier life? Reverse heart disease and diabetes, lose weight and reduce your cancer risk with these tips from Dean Ornish.