Okay, the title might be a bit misleading, but sometimes 3 minutes is all you need (OK, get your mind out of the gutter). I’m talking about mindful breathing (I assume that’s what you were thinking as well, yes?). This 3-minute breathing exercise can be used anywhere, anytime: during a challenging work meeting, while sitting in your cube listening to whispering you can’t decipher (please stop), or in the midst of the much-loved toddler tantrum. It’s a handy little gem. And yes, you can do it with your eyes open so you don’t appear to be sleeping at work (or in the car).
I usually do this breathing exercise before most of my talks and it works wonders. The entire room’s energy changes (or more aptly, the energy of the audience changes). Phones go down. Shoulders relax. Focus shifts. People start paying attention. If you’re a manager, try this at your next team meeting. If you’re a friend, try this with a pal who’s having a rough day (if they’re open to it; as a manager, you can totally force your team into doing this…I hope everyone understands my sense of humour at this point). If you’re a parent, try it with your kid. I do mindful breathing with my daughter (it’s mostly for me) and it sometimes works (most of the time she tells me, “no mommy” when I start to do the “in and out” breathing).
3-Minute Breathing Exercise
(If you’re on your own, it’s a bit tricky to read the script while being mindful so try this. If you’re not on your own, read aloud to the group or person you’re with).
Bring yourself into the present moment by deliberately adopting an erect and dignified posture. If possible, close your eyes. Then ask: “What is my experience right now … in thoughts …, in feelings … and in bodily sensations?” Acknowledge and register your experience, even if it is unwanted.
Then, gently redirect full attention to breathing, to each in-breath and to each out-breath as they follow, one after the other. Your breath can function as an anchor to bring you into the present and help you tune into a state of awareness and stillness.
Expand the field of your awareness around your breathing, so that it includes a sense of the body as a whole, your posture, and facial expression. The breathing space provides a way to step out of automatic pilot mode and reconnect with the present moment. Maintain awareness in the moment. Nothing else.
This month will continue to focus on new beginnings and growth because who doesn’t like being challenged in new and exciting ways (oh, that’s right, most human beings. This is hard s***). I’m incredibly excited to launch the Everyday Champion Series and will share the first post next week.
Interested in learning more unique and useful parenting strategies? Check out Live It Active’s upcoming Speaker Series, Discovering the Inner (and Awesome) Parent in You.