When you had started your day, your mind was clear. Like a painters’ palette before the first brush stroke, it was clean with the everything in its place and nicely segmented. Then you go through the morning routine of getting kids ready for school, skipping breakfast, grabbing a coffee on the go, sitting in the traffic jam with seemingly only bad drivers around you, thinking of everything you need to do during the day, worrying about that report that you promised for the morning meeting and haven’t sent yet… Unfortunately, most often than not, by the time you get into the office, you mind is everything but a clean palette and your emotional state is far from being calm and ready for the day.
In fact, as your day progresses you are more likely to have an ever increasing number of factors cluttering your mind and impacting your emotional state from fatigue; emotions; ‘to do’ lists; relationship dynamics; observations; etc. The consequences of this on you is quite apparent: you are more reactive to perceived slights; your attention span is significantly reduced; you experience increasing difficulty in thinking ‘outside the box’; and you become more risk averse.
Normally I would strongly advise to stay away from anything that promises fast and immediate results without a significant investment. But the mindful minute is a simple and quick tool, literally bringing change to your emotional state and cleaning your mental palette in one minute. It is a very effective breathing practice, some may refer to it as meditation, that lasts a mere 60 seconds, so regardless of how busy you are it can be used anytime and anyplace. When you do this practice for the first time you need 4 ingredients: a chair, a timer (smartphone), 2 minutes, and you. The practice requires you to count each breath, observing it as the air flows in and out. In other words, being mindful of each inhalation and exhalation. Don’t change you breath. All you have to do is count each out breath over the duration of 1 minute.
The first practice:
- Sit in the chair, in a relaxed, upright and dignified posture with your feet planted on the ground.
- Then closing your eyes, bring your focus to the breath. Continue to breathe normally in and out and do this for a few breaths.
- Once you feel comfortable that you have a sense of your breath begin the 1 minute with your timer.
- Mentally count each out breath. Breathe in, breathe out, count 1. Breathe in, breathe out, count 2, etc.
- Once the timer sounds, take note of the number of breaths you have taken over the span of that 60 seconds. Everyone has a differing umber as we all breathe differently so don’t worry about comparing with others.
You now have you reference point for that mindful minute, the number of breaths you just recorded.
So there you have it, that 1 simple minute can help you clean your palette anytime you want. I use it on multiple occasions throughout the day. It can be used before you do a presentation, or before you start a meeting. It cleans the mind, balances emotions, brings you into the now and enables you to focus.
Take a minute, give it a shot!