Show of hands for everyone that’s been guilty of searching for a quick fix to make big changes? I’m right there with you. What if I told you that I’ve discovered one quick fix that actually does work?
I recently got back from a leadership retreat where we were introduced to a daily one minute meditation “plug in” to help us get grounded and centered before we start the day, or even a meeting. Now, I’ll admit it; I was slightly skeptical. I remember thinking: “One minute? What could possibly change in one minute?” Such a silly question because so much can happen in a minute: falling in love; a car accident; birth; death; and the list goes on. My skepticism didn’t stop at the time factor either. While I want to establish a solid meditation practice and make time for it, I haven’t, so therefore, it’s a bit harder for me to grasp its potential even though we’ve talked about it at length here, and I have so many friends who swear by their practice.
The retreat was three days, and before we kicked off each day of learning, all 100+ of us sat with our feet firmly planted on the ground, our hands resting on our knees, and our eyes closed. Our only directive was to breathe and notice our thoughts for exactly one minute (we ALL have one minute).
The first few that came to mind were, “What is this actually doing? Wonder what we’re having for lunch. Did I turn my curling iron off?” But by day three, they went something like this. . . on repeat. . . “You are fine, you are ok. What do you need today?” Readers, it was powerful stuff. Asking “what do I need today” was not something I’ve been in the daily practice of doing for my mind. I’m usually so focused on taking care of my body and work, that I rarely ask, what do you really need?
We took this practice back into the workplace and began every meeting with a one-minute plug-in. I’ve never been more present to what comes up for me during this meditation, and my ability to act on it that same day is such a gift. I’ve found that when I ask “What do you need today?” it’s usually sleep, so that dictates what I do that evening or the next day. If I feel anxious or overwhelmed, I adjust plans accordingly and stay off my phone, and in the workplace, it’s been so helpful for me to get really clear on what I want to say or the intention that I want for the meeting.
This has been so useful, I’ve started implementing it in other areas of my life. Here’s how:
1. During a heated discussion or conversation.
I’ll usually prompt with, “I know it might be cheesy, but can we take one minute to just breathe before this goes further?”
2. While driving and I’m in a hurry.
I hate that I often “cut it too close with time,” that’s my nice way of saying that running late is something I’m working on. Ok, so I don’t close my eyes here, but I do turn the radio silent and just breathe for a minute or so. I’m not a fast driver during these moments, my heart rate is just escalated because I feel bad for being late.
3. Before a talk.
Anytime I’m about to give a talk, or walk into a room where I know no one, I sit in my car or somewhere private and do this exercise. It may not completely wipe my nerves, but just listening to what comes up and course-correcting those thoughts has been wildly transformative.
4. During a work call.
The bulk of my calls are on Zoom, which is a blessing at times, and harder at others. The biggest blessing is that I can turn my video off when I need a moment to just breathe or run to the restroom. If I’m about to present, or perhaps might not agree with something, I’ll turn the video off for a moment and just sit and think — 9 times out of 10, I just needed a minute.
5. At night in bed when I can’t sleep.
Anyone else have a mind that can keep them up all hours of the night? Yeesh, sometimes it is rough. While Magnesium supplements are usually my go-to, the ‘ol put my phone away, close my eyes, and focus on breathing and ONLY breathing for a minute or so actually helps. My heart rate calms a bit and it’s much easier for me to ease into sleep.
I never thought that one minute of disconnecting, could actually leave me feeling even more connected to myself and keep me present to what I really need.
I’m so curious to know what’s one small shift that has made the biggest difference in your life or routine recently? Comment below!