Monday, February 4, 2013

Give Yourself the Gift of a Few Minutes

This morning, as I was rushing my kids to school and thinking of all the things I have to do this week, I was both excited about it all and starting to feel a little burdened with all the to-do items.  So when I got to my office, I did what any responsible person with an overfull plate would do: I took a few minutes to do nothing!

At first, I thought I would just take a few breaths, but the weight of the week was still creeping in.  So I set my meditation timer for 6 minutes, and just let myself really enjoy the not doing.  Each time a new thought of something to do came in, just reminded myself I don’t have to do that right now, and got back to enjoying the not doing.

Feeling refreshed, grounded, and ready, I hopped up and added to my to-do list by writing this to share it with you!

It really helps to give yourself a short break.  It helps even more to set a timer so your mind doesn't have to worry about when it is time to get up.  If you are new to doing any sort of focusing or meditation, the simple practice I recommend the most and use myself the most is this:

  1. Find someplace you can sit comfortably without having to move or be disturbed.
  2. Set your timer for 2-5 minutes, or whatever short amount of time you are willing to give to yourself in this moment.
  3. Start the timer.
  4. Pay attention to your breath without trying to change or control it.  Either pay attention to the air moving in and out of your nose or the sensation of your belly rising and falling, whichever is easier.
  5. Anytime you find yourself having the urge to think about something or get up and do something, gently remind yourself you can do it in a few minutes, right now you are just sitting.  
    1. There is no goal.  You don’t win a gold star if you have no thoughts during this time.  You are also not trying to achieve any sort of relaxation.  Just simply give yourself the break of focusing on your breath for a few minutes.
    2. Being gentle with yourself is the most important thing.  
  6. When your timer rings, simply take one more big inhale fully filling your belly and chest and let the breath exhale naturally without effort.
You can use any timer you have handy for this exercise.  If you are in front of a computer or have a smart phone, here are a couple free options that have a nice bell sound.

Any computer:

Now you are ready to go about your busyness – without getting overwhelmed by it.  Have a great day!


What do you think? Better yet, what do you feel? What do you experience? Let's continue the conversation! You can find me at or email  Want to meet?  Here's how.

Chuck Hancock, M.Ed, LPC is a National Certified Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor, and a Registered Psychotherapist in the state of CO. He has completed comprehensive training in the Hakomi Method of Experiential Psychotherapy, a mindfulness mind-body centered approach. Chuck guides individuals and groups in self-exploration providing them with insight and tools for change. He also incorporates nature as a therapy tool to help shift perspective and inspire new patterns.

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