If we told you there is an action you can take in one minute that improves your ability to focus, lowers your stress, has no negative side effects and doesn’t cost a dime, would you be intrigued? If you’re like most people we work with, you’re thinking, “What is it and where can I get it?!”
The answer may surprise you. It’s meditation.
The missing piece
One of our coaching clients, Monica, was moving forward in her career, doing well on the family front, and in strong shape physically. But she felt like she was rushing from one responsibility to the next. She wanted a clear path to find her next level as a manager and leader.
“I want to not be rattled by small work stressors, like I am now,” she said. “I’ve thought about meditating, but I don’t know how to get started.” We suggested Monica start by doing something incredibly small, just one minute a day, but she was skeptical. “Just try it and notice what happens,” Senia encouraged her.
Just one minute?
Two weeks later, Monica reported that she had meditated for exactly one minute nearly every day. The results surprised her. “I feel like I’m making better decisions on the days that I meditate,” she said.
“That’s great,” Senia replied. “How can you continue to build this practice? After some experimentation, she moved her meditation to right before bedtime, accompanied by soothing music. She eventually extended it to five minutes every evening. After about two months of consistent practice, she reported that she was able to weather work storms much more serenely.
What was going on?
Researchers now say that Monica was methodically changing the circuitry in her brain by developing improved stress-response habits, greater resilience and greater mental clarity.
Our colleague Jackie Johnson, a leadership coach and meditation teacher, says, “Recent research by Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert of Harvard shows that most of us spend up to 50 percent of our time caught up in thoughts, usually replaying events of the past or worrying about an imagined future
, both contributing to unhappiness. Mindful practice allows us to engage with the present with greater clarity and ease.”
Given the benefits, why not try it? How about just one minute, right now?