Take One Breath, Just like Brushing Your Teeth Part 2

Last week I introduced the “just like brushing your teeth series” and kicked it off with a post about Journaling.

A short (less than 500 words), straight-to-the-point conversation on Journaling, Meditation, and Prayer – small practical things you can do every day.

Little actions that when repeated consistently make a big impact. 

Meditation – Just Take One Mindful Breath

A few years ago, I attended some Meditation sessions run by a Buddhist monk. We would work through a breathing exercise and then complete an activity such as observing our thoughts. I would leave these sessions feeling a great sense of calm and peace.

The benefits of meditation are fairly well documented, and you’ll read in books that countless successful people cite it as a crucial part of their daily routine. So, we should all be making it a top priority, right?  

The problem is, if you’re like me, finding those moments to meditate is nearly impossible. No interruptions, perfectly quiet space, no one around to distract you (or think you’re weird) and nothing urgent to complete. 

I would plan to do it but sleep in. I would wake up early, but so would the kids. Aim to do it first thing at the office but get a phone call as I was walking in. I would manage to do it once or twice, but never found consistency.

Then I read a page in Tools of Titans about Chade-Meng Tan, google employee #107, who created a mindfulness course for staff.

Meng says “I may be the laziest mindfulness instructor in the world because I tell my students all they need to commit to is one mindful breath a day. Just one. Breath in and breath out mindfully, and your commitment for the day is fulfilled. Everything else is a bonus”

How refreshing is that to hear? Stop right now, and try it out. 

Keep your eyes open, but gently close your lips. Take a slow and purposeful breath in through the nose, pause for a second, then exhale. Try it once more, this time be aware of the breath as it is coming and going. 

That’s it – you have just taken one purposeful breath. Congratulations! 

The Definition of Meditate is to engage in contemplation or reflection

One mindful breath qualifies as this, according to Meng 

While you’re walking the kids, during a work meeting, or sitting in the middle of a sports game. When you’re feeling rushed, running late and stuck behind someone slow, you can take one breath. 

Ultimately, meditation comes down to just taking one breath at a time. By just aiming to take one mindful breath I actually found many more times in the day to take another. 

There was a quote on the Silverspoon wall. 

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

I would like to encourage you to stop and “take one breath” at some point today. It could be the difference between you being in control of a situation or it being in control of you. Remember, just like brushing your teeth, you may not see the effects straightaway, but your mind will be better off for it. 

Peace = calm in your heart

More About the “Just like Brushing Your Teeth Series”

I brush my teeth every day, usually at least twice 🙂 

Brushing my teeth is not time consuming and something I manage to do even if I am running late. If I am travelling, I remember to pack my toothbrush. It’s a habit that is part of my daily routine. 

Last year I kept setting the goal to “meditate daily” and then subsequently failing to do it. I would feel stink that I had failed at the goal, but I wouldn’t actually change anything about my day to achieve it. One day I was brushing my teeth, and it clicked. My idea of meditating was not lining up with my daily routine. 

I realized that if I was going to be successful with this goal, or any goal for that matter, I needed to change one of two things – my expectations or my routines. 

Do you brush your teeth every morning and night? Is it something you consciously do, or can you do it in autopilot? What if we had the same approach to our mind and the goals you’re trying to achieve? What if you could make little tweaks to your daily routine, only two to five minutes in total, that have a big impact? 

As one of my friends said, “I don’t brush my teeth because I want to but because I know my teeth will rot if I don’t.” Most people would identify with this. 

One single day of brushing (or not brushing) your teeth won’t make a big difference. However, the compounding effect of doing this every day, over and over, makes a big impact. 

For the next three weeks I will post a short (less than 500 words), straight-to-the-point conversation on Journaling, Meditation, and Prayer – small practical things you can do every day. Little actions that when repeated consistently make a big impact. 

Just like brushing your teeth 🙂 

Tools of Titans