This experiment involves doing a simple mindfulness practice, which involves paying attention to the present moment experience without judgement and watching the breath. You will do this for 10 minutes once a day for 30 days.
Mindfulness has been shown to improve quality of life, reduce stress, improve chronic pain suffering, reduce fatigue, improve mood and even attention and focus.
Instructions: Close your eyes and become aware of your breath, moving in and out of your body through the nose and down into the lungs and then up and out again through your mouth. Don’t try to force or change your breathing or worry about the pattern. Just observe with curiosity what it does naturally.
When thoughts come up, don’t try to ‘push them away’ or ‘blank your mind.’ Instead, try to imagine your thoughts are like clouds passing by as you sit watching them from below without judging what is a good or bad thought.
Do this practice for 10 minutes and then take one last deep breath with a long exhale to finish and open your eyes.
When you get distracted, simply say ‘oh well’ and gently shift your attention back to watching your breathing again. Don’t beat yourself up about getting sucked into a story or into your thoughts; it’s natural. Every time you notice you get distracted and bring your attention back to the breathing you have trained your brain towards a more mindful state. Repeat this practice for a few minutes and then slowly bring your attention back into the room, feel your body sitting on the chair or floor and taking one last deep breath with a long exhale, open your eyes again.
Choose the time of day that you will do your practice and write it into your calendar with a notification. Set an alert on our phone so that you don’t forget! Try to stick to the same time each day. This helps create a habit and reduces mental effort to do your practice.