Mindfulness and meditation can seem really overwhelming to some. Oh the irony, since they're supposed to help us feel the opposite of overwhelm.
“There isn't enough time.” “I can't sit still for any amount of time.” “I hate the sound of my own breath.” “It makes me more anxious.” There are a million excuses.
But I have the solution! I have the absolute most simple, easiest, no excuses hold up mindfulness meditation exercise that exists.
It's called "one breath." Official title.
And it's exactly what it sounds like.
All you do is take one breath and pay complete attention to that one breath.
Then continue on with your day as is. No pressure to do anything else.
You can do this one time only but it’s more helpful to take “one breath” all throughout the day. The easiest way to do this is to anchor it to a habit you already do many times during the day. This could be whenever you open a door or your phone buzzes with a message. Some people will set their phone to chime throughout the day as a way to practice it.
You also want to anchor it to a neutral habit at first. One without much emotion attached to it. Ultimately taking “one breath” during more emotionally charged moments will be helpful but wait until it’s actually a habit before wading in with the sharks.
What this “one breath” does is create more space and presence in your life without having to set aside any amount of time. You can do it anywhere at any time and no one knows what you're up to.
Everyone I've shared this with has said it’s the easiest “good” habit they’ve added to their lives. They feel more peace and clarity (even those with severe depression and anxiety). They also find themselves more easily and effortlessly changing “bad” habits. The extra breath gives you the opportunity to make more mindful decisions. But without the pressure.
Once it’s a habit you can always up the ante and do two breaths, then three, however many you want. The key is to start small and go slow in order to build that habit. Then you can practice it during those more emotionally charged moments. When your child (or some adult) is throwing a temper tantrum. Or you have to speak in front of an audience. You know, really fun times like those.
I’m a huge fan of this because of the positive impact it’s had on my life. When I practice “one breath” regularly I’m far more patient, happy, peaceful, and appreciative. I’m mindful of the moment.
I anchor my “one breath” to a couple different things. Any buzz or noise from my phone. This has led me to resist the urge to immediately respond when I’m busy with other things. And more importantly, turn it to silent when I don’t want to be interrupted.
But my all time fav is whenever I stop at a stoplight or stop sign. This has surely saved lives. Mine and all those around me when navigating the streets of Los Angeles.
So no excuses folks. Anyone can do this. ANYONE! I promise you’ll notice a positive difference and if not, you can have your money back.