When I attended a Workplace Wellness seminar down in Santa Clara this past Friday, mindfulness was definitely front and centre.
Although I sheepishly admit that mindfulness has never truly been my thing, I know it’s a practice that works really well for many, so it perhaps wasn’t surprising to hear several speakers advocating its use in the workplace.
Despite my lack of personal application of mindfulness, I’m happy to pass on one small but great tip that’s easy to adopt. I’ve been using it this week.
One speaker asked the audience to close their eyes, concentrating solely on their breathing. In, and out. In, and out. He explained that he would time us for thirty seconds.
So far, so usual. It’s a common way to introduce people to mindfulness.
But then we were asked to repeat the exercise, this time counting the cycles of our breathing, with one inhalation and its accompanying exhalation making up one breath. He’d time us again.
Finally, the idea was to make a note of this number. Some in the audience reached five. I was apparently more chilled out, making just two-and-a-half breaths in thirty seconds.
The number itself doesn’t matter. What’s important is establishing your own number.
You can easily do this yourself, setting a gold standard for your breathing rate by timing yourself with your phone, computer, or watch. Do it once, then you’ll be able to repeat the exercise whenever you wish, without requiring a timer.
What seems most valuable about the technique is that it enables you to fit in thirty seconds of this kind of “mini-mindfulness” whenever you wish, without needing to time yourself, simply counting breaths instead.
It could be while you’re on a bus, waiting at traffic lights, watching TV, or immediately after a phone call.
Counting your breaths, of course, also helps you to f-o-c-u-s on them, rather than on anything else.
It’s simple, and simply applied. And I can thoroughly recommend it.
How about giving it a try?