Whhhhyyyyy is it so hard for me to sit still for 10-minutes? Because I have way too much to do? Because it’s indulgent? Because I should be doing the dishes? the laundry? mowing the lawn? Oh boy could I write a list…. But with this post, I commit! Last week I decided to sit for 10-minutes each day for two weeks.
I set these ground rules and got started:
- My 10 minute sit can not be 10 minutes before I go to bed. (been there, done that. I just fall asleep)
- My 10 minute sit does not have to occur on a certain cushion or in a certain corner.
- My 10 minute sit is just that. Sitting without earbuds or any sort of guided meditation. Me and my thoughts.
- My 10 minute sit’s goal is to practice the three steps of mindful meditation (1. focus on something, for me it’s usually my breathing, 2. be aware of when my thoughts wander, 3. bring my thoughts back to my breathing with KINDNESS and no judgement. )
I’m one week into my experiment and am proud to say that I sat for 10 minutes the past six out of seven days.
What have I learned so far? Two main things:
- This was hard! Every single time that I went to sit for 10-minutes, my inner rebel would tell me what other things I “should” be doing or what a waste of time this would be. I was surprised with how difficult it was for me to take 10 minutes to sit and do nothing for 10 minutes each day. It is not at all difficult for me to do many useless things for many more than 10 minutes each day (check instagram, mindlessly eat, straighten shit around the house, wander around Target, etc…) but take 10 minutes to sit still and improve my mental and physical health? Hard stuff!
- I benefitted immediately! Every single time that I sat, I felt calmer, more focused, and happier. Every. Single. Time. It didn’t matter how many times during the 10 minutes my mind wandered or how un-focused I felt. Every time my 10-minute timer went off, I felt like someone had slipped me some sort of zen pill. Like I had just gotten a massage while sitting at the beach listening to my favorite music. I am not exaggerating. Every single time.
And so I enter my second week. I will continue to sit for 10-minutes a day. know enough about our brain and neuroscience to know that I can do these two things to set me up for a week of success.
1) I can expect that I won’t want to sit. I can expect that I will find excuse after excuse for why I don’t have time or why it doesn’t make sense to sit for 10 minutes. When my inner rebel pipes up, I will remind myself: “Nothing has gone wrong here”. Changing your routine is work. Your brain is lazy. It likes to follow established neural pathways. Just go sit.
2) I will take 20-30 seconds either immediately after or at some other time that day to remind myself how wonderful I felt after my 10-minute sit. This creates a new neural pathway so that each time I do go to sit, I won’t resist it as much (aka ->forming a habit!)
Do you take time to mindfully sit? What works for you?