My wife is a mental health profession and has been asking me to practice mindfulness for years. I’ve always resisted the idea because I never was really stressed or anxious and I know (and am somewhat proud) that my mind is extremely busy.
That is until I started noticing a genuine difference the practice has made in her life. Things, like she's always the one to notice interesting things during our hiking trips; she has a more meaningful relationship with her encounters. I thought, why not give it a try and make my wife happy and to stop her nagging me.
A few months later, I’m no Zen master and I still have a very busy mind, but I’m more productive; I feel more present at work and home; I feel more joy.
Here are some things that helped me along my journey. I will try to share one thing per month.
Give it a try and start small.
Mindfulness practices come in all shapes and forms. You don’t have to sit there for hours to meditate. It’s never too late to start, and never too small to work. Below is a video of late night show host Jimmy Fallon, who tried a 2-minute breathing exercise in a very public setting. Try to follow along and notice the difference of your state of mind.
If you are like me, you probably will experience a bit more of a quiet mind after that exercise. That’s all you need to get started. This 3-minute breathing exercise will make a difference.
Sit or lay comfortably. Lengthen your spine.
Interlace your fingers and rest your hands on your belly. Close your eyes and mouth.
Take a slow, deep breath through your nose, sending the breath into your belly. Feel your hands move away, belly expanding. Breathe out slowly and deeply through the nose. Feel your hands draw toward you, belly contracting. Repeat two more times.
With your next breath, lengthen your inhalation to a count of five. You can silently count om 1, om 2, om 3, om 4, om 5 to keep a rhythm. Feel the belly expand.
Exhale slowly for ten counts. Feel the belly contract.
Repeat this breath nine more times; inhaling for five, exhaling for ten.
When you’re finished release your hands and return to natural belly breathing. Feel the peaceful energy flowing throughout your body.
I found that one of those three different times throughout the day is particularly helpful in creating a more calm mind. My favorite time is in the morning; it is to wake up 3-minutes earlier in the morning, instead of jumping off the bed rushing into your day, three minuets will help you set the right tone for your entire day. You will experience a clearer and more focused mind right way. The second one is around noon that will help you reset your day and give you a productive afternoon. The final on is at night before you close your eyes that will help you get restful night.