We are all rushing about so much and have so any calls on our attention that it can be almost overwhelming. There is lots of advice about mindfulness and meditation for calming the mind, but what if you feel you don’t have the time to either learn these techniques or to put them into action afterwards?
In 2011, I attended the Association of Coaching’s annual conference where we were taught a fabulous technique by mindfulness trainer, Michael Chaskalson. It is not only effective, but better yet, it takes very little time to learn and only 1 minute to do at times of stress, overwhelm, panic or when you want to bring your mind back to calm.
1) Open up your timer on your phone, watch or computer, and set it to give you an alarm after 60 seconds.
2) Take a few deep breaths just to get you in the zone.
3) Start your timer and then just breathe as naturally as possible, counting each breath.
4) When your timer rings, remember the number of breaths you took. (There is no ‘right’ number - in the group with whom I learnt this, it ranged from 5 to 16.)
Next time you feel stressed, anxious or need to refocus, take ‘your’ number of breaths, focussing just on the breath and counting each one. This creates a one minute meditation, a moment to interrupt the jibber jabber in your head. It is a bit like a mini-reboot.
It is a great little technique because all you need is to be able to count and you can do it anywhere. I’ve done it on the side of the stage before public speaking, on a crowded train after a busy day and always do it prior to a coaching session, to ready myself for working with my clients.