One minute is an incredibly short amount of time. It’s 1/1440 of your day and flashes by in the span of… well, just one minute! But the curious thing about a minute is how long it is when you’re focused on it. A minute goes by in the blink of an eye when you’re late for work, but it can stretch on for an eternity when you’re waiting for your food to microwave. The concept of a minute is some of the best proof that time is relative.
In the context of developing good habits, one minute is more time than you might think and can affect real change. The best example of this is a “mindful minute.”
What’s a mindful minute?
A form of micro meditation, a mindful minute is one minute of total serenity and clarity. Think of it like a reset button for your body, helping you re-center yourself and get back to homeostasis. By detaching yourself from your current reality and engaging in a clear-headed state of meditation, you’re breaking the cycle of stress, tension and anxiety that we’re all prone to falling into.
Imagine you just got yelled at by your boss at work for a mistake you made. You’re upset, frustrated, mad, depressed, anxious and a slew of other negative emotions. Instead of acting rashly—taking your emotions out on someone else or making an impulse decision you might regret—you close your eyes and breathe deep for one full minute. When you open your eyes, you feel better. You might not have a smile on your face, but you’re less upset and less frustrated, and you’ve got a clear mind.
This is the power of a mindful minute, and it applies to all moments in your life that cause you to feel negative emotions. Sometimes, all you need to regain your balance is a calming moment of perspective.
Have a mindful minute every hour
Mindful moments are powerful mental health tools when you’re feeling negative emotions, but that’s not their only purpose. In fact, every person can benefit from a mindful minute every hour of every day.
A mindful minute is moderating for your mind and body. It not only helps you rebalance your emotions, it can also boost blood oxygenation, improve breathing, reduce inflammation and reduce muscle tension. It’s a practical tool for breaking patterns and cycles that might be taking an unknown toll on your body. You might be perfectly happing typing away at your computer, but a mindful minute will make you aware of your tense posture and help you to relax it.
A mindful minute every hour also moderates your physiological processes. Regulating your breathing helps control your heart rate and blood oxygen levels. Clearing your mind helps improve mental acuity and boost creative thought. Resetting your emotions can help you establish new perspectives on your thoughts.
Hitting the reset button every hour gives you an opportunity to become present. You’re not just wiling away the minutes and hours mindlessly—you’re bringing your conscious back to the present, so you can reap the benefits of an engaged mind.
How to engage in mindfulness for one minute
While the purpose of a mindful minute is to achieve a state of meditation for one minute, there are many ways to get there. Over time and with practice, each person will grow into their own mindfulness routine. To help you get started, follow this simple approach to engaging in mindfulness:
- Sit or lay in a comfortable position.
- Set a countdown time for one minute on your phone.
- When you hit start, close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
- Practice box breathing: in, hold, out and hold for 5 seconds each (3 cycles total).
- While breathing, loosen any tense muscles and relax any engaged muscles.
- When the timer goes off, gently open your eyes and resume your day.
If you can, try to do this for the first (or last) minute of every new hour or when you experience a significant stressor during the hour. For those who have trouble falling asleep at night, this is also a great before-bed calming exercise.
Can you spare a minute every hour?
Now, during the season of New Year’s resolutions, is the time to commit yourself to a mindful minute every hour of every day. That’s roughly 14-18 minutes per day (depending on waking hours)—or, 1/60 of every hour. Not only will that mindful minute make you feel better, it’ll give you a deep appreciation for how long and powerful one minute can be.