This is a short post. Why? Because its doesn't need to be long.
We all waste words. We all waste time. Thats ok. We are not perfect (sorry to break it to you).
How will you know the below is effective?
You can try it now.
You dont have to buy anything.
You dont have to get changed.
You dont have to blame the weather.
You dont need to find a quiet place.
You can do it. Now. In this moment.
1. Make time. A tiny moment for you. A Tiny Pause. Dont read any further unless you are prepared to make 1 minute or more everyday for you.
2. Breathe slowly. 4 times or more (If its Friday treat yourself to 8 breaths, if its your birthday, do your age).
Slowly in, slowly out. Bring your attention to the sensation of your breathing. How your chest rises, how your chest falls. How there is a tiny gap between each in breath and each out breath. How your body begins to release calming hormones almost immediately. How a little bit of tension is let go of with each exhalation.
3. When your attention wanders to thoughts of either the past or the future. Understand that this is ok. This is normal. Every time your attention drifts helps you. Its another opportunity to return to the present. Mindfulness to begin with is the practice of returning. If we criticize ourselves for our attention wandering we wander more. It becomes harder to return, not easier. Each time we return we practice the journey. The more times we do a journey the better we know it, the more comfortable we are with it. The easier it feels.
If we find our attention wandering to a painful thought its ok. The most effective way for this thought to lose its power over us is to not judge it. To not push it away. To be with it.
If we stand at the shore and ask the tide to not come in. It will still come in. Even if we shout and express anger, even if we use force. It will still come in. But if we stand there and let the water do what it wants we are ok. If the water rises we will get wet. This is ok. If the water rises further this is still ok. Because we can swim, because we can float.
4. Write down one thing you feel grateful for after you practice. This one action completely changes the direction of our internal dialogue. While this is happening we release positive emotions.
And one extra point. No matter how you feel during a mindfulness practice it has value. Making the time to give yourself high quality attention always helps. Its much easier to aim to give ourselves high quality attention then it is to aim to be relaxed.