We live in a culture where it’s common to have entire conversations with people while looking at a tiny screen and planning the rest of our day in the back of our minds. Heck, it’s barely even considered rude anymore. No wonder, then, that many of us find it hard to slow down long enough to build a mediation practice, no matter how many articles we read about its benefits for our productivity and career satisfaction.
The answer, suggests Maria Gonzalez at HBR Blog Network, might be “micro meditations”:
“These are meditations that can be done several times a day for 1-3 minutes at a time,” she writes. “Periodically throughout the day, become aware of your breath. It could be when you feel yourself beginning to become stressed or overwhelmed with too much to do and too little time, or perhaps when you feel yourself becoming increasingly distracted and agitated.”
Next, she says, we should notice whether our breathing is shallow or deep, and pay attention to our body posture. Do we hunch our shoulders, or stick out our bellies? Do we hold our breath?
Finally, try to bring the breath into the belly — or as low down in the chest as you can without feeling forced. The goal is to bring our mind back to focusing on the breath, even when it wanders. And it will wander. See previous re: our culture’s love of perpetual multitasking and sneakily gazing at screens.
If you do this a few times a day, you can replace the habit of always living one step ahead with a new one: mindfulness. This will in turn help with everything from paying attention during that next presentation to managing stress better when you’re facing a deadline.
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