These days, it would seem we've been completely inundated with information about meditation and mindfulness.
"Start with just five minutes of meditation!" "Focus on your breath!" "Meditation will positively affect your life!"
To be honest, until recently I had never actually tried it. I was always too busy, too tired, blah, blah, blah ... But after I found myself encouraging my clients to engage in meditation (I'm a therapist), I figured I would try it myself. So I set aside time one morning before my day got started, and committed to just one minute of meditation.
I know what you are thinking ... only a minute? But for me, that's just what felt right. I figured I could start slowly with one minute today, two minutes tomorrow, three the next, and so on.
I began by sitting on the floor with my legs crossed, and palms face up on my knees. I focused on my breath. And I was successful for about two breaths before I noticed my mind start to wander. Refocus. Two more breaths … Refocus again.
This pattern repeated itself for the duration of the minute. When I was finished I didn't notice anything right away, but when I sat down to eat breakfast, I remembered what I'd heard about mindfulness and took in a few deep breaths before eating. Here's what happened.
1. I was able to stay in the moment.
Typically, I am more vigilant to outside distractions. I'm hyper-aware of my surroundings and tend to focus on any little noise, whether its my dogs barking or phone ringing. That one minute of meditation helped me stay present during breakfast.
2. My sense of smell was stronger.
Maybe it was just the fact that I took time to actually take a deep breath and smell.
3. I was less worried about my to-do list.
My brain was able to take a break from organizing and re-organizing everything I had to get done.
4. I was more aware of what I was eating.
With each and every bite I noticed an enhancement of smell and flavor.
5. I had time to reflect on me.
I noticed I wanted to make better decisions for myself. I had an inner dialogue and I reminded myself that I'm important. I rarely take time to do that.
6. I noticed my breath.
I noticed how breathing through my nose tickled my upper lip — did it always do this? Was I that mindless that I had never even noticed my own breath before?
7. I didn't think about my phone.
This is astonishing. I'm literally connected to my phone. When I was finished with breakfast I went to my regular habit and picked it up. But instead, I took notice of my thoughts and realized I didn't even want to look at it. I was just enjoying being in the moment.
8. I sat up straighter.
It became clear to me that apparently I slouched before. I wasn't necessarily aware of my slouching but after I meditated and actively sat up straight for that one minute, I continued that throughout my day.
9. I felt content.
I was satisfied with myself at that moment and the time and effort I put into myself. Before I wouldn't take the time to enjoy my breakfast. Instead I would eat mindlessly while running out the door or in front of the tv.