Zen Habits has posted 9 Mindfulness Rituals to Make Your Day Better. Unfortunately for me the night owl, they include “sit in the morning.” Damn!
Ironically I struggle quite a bit with mindfulness in my workplace. Thankfully, I’m usually pretty mindful when I’m actually in session with a client. But between sessions when I’m supposed to be working on my documentation, responding to emails, making phone calls or faxing things to other agencies, I tend to get so overwhelmed with the many things on my to do list that I will start one before finishing another–a mortal sin in mindful living directly opposed to the last item on Zen Habits’ list, “Work with focus.” I can tell you two things that have helped me work with more focus than I otherwise would:
- A literal to-do list that I keep on my desk. This isn’t so much a mindfulness trick as an ADHD trick. Hey, no one said I can’t have moments of both.
- Mindful breathing. My favorite short mindful breathing exercise that can be done anywhere, at any time is “The Relaxing Breath” that I first heard of through Dr. Andrew Weil. Maybe he invented it, I don’t know. Here’s the rundown direct from his site:
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
I do this exercise regularly–in traffic, when I’m flustered in my workday, when my puppy won’t stop ringing the bell to go to the yard at midnight, whatever. I also can tell you that it’s been the single most effective breathing exercise that I’ve used with my teenage and older clients (the single most effective breathing exercise that I’ve used with younger clients is the awesome “flower and candle” exercise, wherein a child is instructed to form two fists and envision a candle in one fist and a flower in the other. She’s then asked to smell the flower and blow out the candle in turns; a great intro to mindfulness for children).