1. Book a time in your calendar for the next 30 days - 1 minute or more (literally 1 minute is effective)
2. Practice your Tiny Pause. Its 4 slow conscious breaths.
3. Attach your Tiny Pause to a habit you already have. Example; every time you make a cup of tea - take 4 breaths, every time you sit down for a meeting - take 4 breaths, every time you brush your teeth - take 4 breaths. You get the idea. This helps a Tiny Pause become an unconscious habit within 30 days.
Slightly longer version:
Picture this moment. You are lying in bed planning stuff for tomorrow. You want to go to sleep but your thoughts have other plans. You toss and turn. You look at your clock. Time is going slowly. You think about how tired you’ve been all day, how much you've looked forward to bed and now this………...you don’t want to get frustrated because you know that doesn't help, but still - “ I just want to sleep “
You are writing an email. Its important and urgent (buy what isn't these days?), then your phone goes. Its a text. From that person you didn't want to receive a text from. Because its never good news. Ok, its not bad news but its definitely going to make your day harder, not easier. Ok, back to the email. Oh wait, another email has arrived asking for a deadline to be moved 2 days earlier! Well you can't do that because………...oh hold on, back to the original email.
The above took just under 2 minutes. But the feelings of pressure and stress you have experienced means it feels like a lot longer.
So what has the above got to do with beginning mindfulness?
Mindfulness is in effect a way of giving ourselves a moment of high quality attention. Its a moment we choose. Its a moment we have control of. Its a moment we can use to help us. In a variety of situations.
You can read here a list of 20 benefits of mindfulness for both physical and mental health. But lets stick with 4 that are consistently supported by studies and more importantly feedback from people like you (humans with responsibilities in the western world).
Reduce stress & anxiety
This ticks the - why do mindfulness - box.
Book a time in your calendar. Why? Because if its in your calendar you are more likely to do it. When you have a meeting in your calendar you go. When you have a holiday booked in your calendar you do it. A Tiny Pause is high quality attention for you. It makes you feel a little (sometimes a lot) better. When you feel better, you behave better. When you feel better you perform better. Etc.
It has immense value and deserves to be in your calendar every day irrespective of if your aims are to improve analytical thinking, communicate in a more effective way, reduce stress, relieve pressure or just get to sleep (or almost anything).
This ticks the - how to make time - for mindfulness box.
How do you get better at anything? You do more of it. We understand this but try and ignore it or find a shortcut. Good news is that you can practice your Tiny Pause almost any time of the day (apart from when you are asleep). Less good news is you can practice any time of the day. No that's not a misprint. If something is always available to us we begin to lose appreciation of it (think our pining for hot weather in the middle of winter and after one week of hot weather how we wish the sun would stop.) So what to do?
Habit creation is a simple science. One of the key factors when we want to create a new habit is attaching it to a habit we already have. Doing it AFTER this habit. Popular ones from my courses are; brushing teeth, having a bath/shower, cups of tea/coffee, after children are in bed. You can choose anyone that suits you.
Just do it.
Can you spare 4 breaths a day? Do you deserve 4 breaths a day?
A very quick reminder. It takes less than 1 minute.