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Are You Up for the 24-Hour Mini-Mindful-Moment Challenge?

05/09/2011 09:35 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011
  • Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Co-founder of The Center for Mindful Living in Los Angeles; Author, 'Uncovering Happiness'; 'The Now Effect'; Co-author, 'A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook'

A few months ago I was walking with a long-time friend of mine who has had a long history of working in the field of personal and professional development. He said something that really surprised me. He had developed a discipline of checking into the present moment every minute of the day. For just a few seconds he checks to see where he is, what he is thinking, and how he is feeling. Over a short time he got pretty good at this, and his mind just started to automatically bring him to the moment. This may seem extreme, but maybe there's something for the rest of us to learn here.

What if during multiple moments of the day you had a mini-moment practice where you brought your mind to the present moment and checked in with yourself? What would change?

You're in the middle of eating breakfast and you're thinking about the plans for the day, but you bring your mind to the present and simply spend a few moments tasting your food.

While talking to a friend you guide your mind back from thinking of the next brilliant counterargument and simply begin to listen.

In the middle of an important business meeting a mini-moment is prompted and you notice your shoulder's tightening and your mind worrying that you're going to have to speak soon, and you choose to take a few breaths and roll your shoulders.

Maybe mini-moments don't have to happen every minute, but what if we had mini-moments every hour? Is that so much to ask of ourselves? We can take about 20 seconds to check in and bring our minds back to the life that is happening right now.

I hereby propose the 24-Hour Mini-Mindful Moment Challenge where you do this one time every hour.

If you need some structure to the mini-moment you can focus on these things:

  • Body: Notice how it is positioned, if there's any tension anywhere.
  • Emotions: Are you angry, frustrated, calm, happy, sad, stressed?
  • Thoughts: Are you worrying, stewing or rehashing? Are you stuck in the past or future?
  • Location: Where are you?

Just take these four steps and then breathe. You've done it.

As one person who took this challenge said:

It's so easy to get lost everyday. Focusing on the future or past, preparing, anticipating, rehashing, etc. For me, dwelling on what has not yet happened occupies a lot of my time. This tendency is rooted in a lack of trust -- trust that I can react or respond to any circumstances, regardless of my preparedness.

I think, however, if I were to practice being more in the moment many times throughout the day... I would learn to trust myself.

Of course, don't take my word for it, set an intention to take one day and practice a Mini-Mindful Moment every hour. Do it as an experiment for yourself and see what happens.

As always, please share your thoughts, questions and stories below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

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This post is adapted from a piece on mindfulness and psychotherapy at Psychcentral.com. You may also find Elisha Goldstein at www.elishagoldstein.com.

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