A few months ago I was walking with a long time friend of mine who has had a long history of working in the field of personal and professional development. He said something that really surprised me. He had developed a discipline of checking into the present moment every minute of the day. Just for a few seconds he’s check to see where he was, what he was thinking, and how he was feeling. Over a short time he got pretty good at this and his mind just started to automatically bring him to the moment. This may seem extreme, but maybe there’s something for the rest of us to learn here.
What if during multiple moments of the day you had a mini-moment practice where you brought your mind to the present moment and checked in with yourself. What would change?
In the middle of eating breakfast and you’re thinking about the plans for the day, you bring your mind to the present and simply spend a few moments tasting your food.
While talking to a friend you guide your mind back from thinking of the next brilliant counterargument and simply begin to listen.
In the middle of an important business meeting, a mini-moment is prompted and you notice your shoulder’s tightening and your mind worrying that you’re going to have to speak soon, and you choose to take a few breaths and roll your shoulders.
Maybe a mini-mindful challenge doesn’t have to happen every minute, but what if we had mini-moments every hour. Is that so much to ask of ourselves? We can take about 20 seconds to check-in and bring our minds back to the life that is happening right now.
I hereby propose The 24 Hour Mini-Mindful Moment Challenge where you do this one time every hour.
If you need some structure to the mini-moment you can:
- Body – Notice how it is positioned, if there’s any tension anywhere.
- Emotions – Are you angry, frustrated, calm, happy, sad, stressed?
- Thoughts – Are you worrying, stewing, or rehashing? Are you stuck in the past or future?
- Location – Where are you?
Just take these four steps and then breathe. You’ve done it.
Of course, don’t take my word for it, set an intention to take one day and practice a Mini Mindful Moment every hour. Do it as an experiment for yourself and see what happens.
As always, please share your thoughts, questions and stories below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Elisha Goldstein is a clinical psychologist and conducts a private practice in West Los Angeles. He is co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (New Harbinger). Visit his mindfulness and psychotherapy blog on PsychCentral.com.