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Do you have a minute? Try mindful breathing meditation to improve the day

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If you have one minute left, you can modify the course of the day with a quick mindfulness practice.

“Mindfulness is the practice of cultivating awareness of the present moment (thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations) without judging or reacting to them,” said Eric Garland, Distinguished Professor and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Utah College. of Social Work.

Paying attention to the sensation of breathing is one of the most basic practices of mindfulness, said Amishi Jha, a professor of psychology at the University of Miami.

“It’s going to shine the flashlight of attention on these breath-related sensations,” he said. Jha calls these exercises “basic strength training for our mind” or workouts to perfect our ability to focus on the present.

You can start right now. Ready? Here’s how to get started.

1. Take a minute (or five). “Take some time,” Jha said. “It can be as short as a minute.” Set a timer so you can focus on your practice. If possible, try to minimize distractions. You can sit, stand or lie down. Choose what you feel comfortable with.

2. Anchor your attention. Choose a physical breath sensation to focus on, said Patricia Rockman, director of education and clinical services at Center for Mindfulness Studies in Toronto.

“This can be in the nostrils, chest or abdomen. It’s really about the physical sensations, the movement of the breath at a specific point,” Rockman said.

This will be the “anchor” of your practice. Now, breathe normally as you turn your attention to this place.

3. Redirect your mind. Very soon, it probably distracts you with a thought. Don’t feel bad. This is what happens.

“People think they’re shitty meditators because they have a lot of thoughts,” Rockman said. “They shouldn’t wait for their thoughts to go away or for their minds to be empty.”

When you notice that your mind is wandering, just refocus your attention. It’s like doing mental repetitions. Each time you return the focus to breathing, it strengthens that cognitive “muscle”.

4. Repeat. A minute of conscious breathing is just submerging the toe, Jha said. It is a starting point. Over time, you could work up to 10 or 15 minutes a day.

While doing a regular mindfulness meditation, Jha encourages people to look for opportunities to sneak into “micro-practices” like this.

“At a stop sign, waiting in line, waiting in the car to pick up your child,” he said. “You can pick up the phone and start moving around. But if we choose to do a small, short internship, it can probably be more beneficial.”

5. Make a plan. If you want mindfulness to be an adhering habit, try making a specific plan to try again tomorrow, said Katy Milkman, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “How to change: the science of getting from where you are to where you want to be.”

“Make it more of a firm commitment, so it’s not a vague intention that we can continue to postpone,” he said. This can mean writing a few minutes to pay attention to the calendar. Over time, everyday consciousness can become a new habit.

And if you miss a day or two, Milkman said it’s key to avoid the “what the hell” effect. This is what happens when we don’t achieve our goals and then give up altogether. Instead, he recommended that you give yourself a limited weekly number of “emergency reservations” to use on days when even a conscious minute seems too much to do.

It’s a free pass to skip meditation and start fresh the next day. “Repetition builds habits,” Milkman said. “But having this strategy” I’m not going to give up on myself “is also very important”.

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