Get Chris’ Mindfulness Exercises
A sound and healthy mind matters just as much as a sound and healthy body. Review these mindfulness exercises and themes below, and work to include them in your challenge regimen.
- Download the Headspace app and try out their 10-day Intro to Meditation.
- Aim to take one yoga class a week. Any class will do, but if you’re working out hard, try restorative yoga.
- Go on two silent walks a week. Walk early in the morning before doing anything (yes, even before getting your morning coffee). Count 100 long inhales and exhales as you walk. Don’t talk to anyone. Don’t use your phone. These walks should take about 30 mins. Concentrate on the counting and the breathing.
- Practice three meditations a week. These can be as short as 5 minutes and can be done after your silent walk. Use Headspace for guidance.
- Get a good night’s sleep at least four times a week. Lack of sleep can cause anxiety, lack of energy, fatigue during workouts, increased appetite, and a short temper. All of that can cause you to eat more than you need, be stressed at work, and be too exhausted to get in a good workout. You’re then likely to get even less sleep the next night. Try these tips for getting some quality rest.
Week 1: Gratitude
For one day this week, every time someone does something for you without expecting something in return (i.e. opening a door, picking up a pen you dropped, giving you a receipt), stop and thank them from your heart. Don’t just respond reflexively. Every night before bed, think of 10 people past or present for whom you are grateful.
Week 2: Patience
The next time you lose your temper or become impatient, write what you are feeling down in your phone. Record everything about the experience: what happened, how you felt, and so on. Save it. Don’t look at it again for at least 24 hours. Then take a look at it after 24 hours. What do you feel now? Are you still just as angry? What changed in that 24 hours? Chances are, you let it go. The experience lost its power over you. Try it again. Does it get easier to let go? What was more beneficial: the reaction in the moment or the act of letting go? Maybe the reaction isn’t necessary. Maybe we can learn from experiences without adding the reaction. That’s what we call patience.
Week 3: Compassion
Get in a long line at a grocery store — on purpose. What are people around you doing? Are they anxious? Angry? Impatient? Do you ever feel the same way? Make a story for each person you see. Maybe that man just got fired, that woman has a sick mother she needs to care for, that cashier has been working nonstop all day. Can you understand their impatience without knowing the real story? Aren’t they people with problems just like you? Can you feel that compassion? If so, you may never get angry waiting for the metro again. That jerk who just cut you off didn’t do it to spite you — he did it because he felt he needed to get somewhere fast. Once you have compassion, you can no longer get mad. And when you’re in a hurry, you won’t cut others off because you’ve been there before yourself.
Week 4: Forgiveness
Now that you have gratitude, patience, and compassion, your reactivity is lessened. Forgiveness is the last step. Just because you get angry and let it go does not mean you’ll stop being reactive. Reactivity is bred into use from an early age and we can’t just deny it to lessen it. We can only work to make sure that it doesn’t control us. Forgiveness is essential to closing the loop. The more quickly you can forgive — truly forgive — the easier it is to let go.