Taking just three minutes of your time three times a day could make a huge difference in how you see yourself and the world around you.
A friend of mine introduced me to this idea a few years ago. It appealed to me because it only required a short period of time and was regular. I know that’s necessary for good habits to stick. Here’s how it works…
Step One: Press the pause button in your mind and become aware of your surroundings
Step Two: Make a choice. Ask yourself “what can I do in the next three minutes to make myself or someone else calm and happy?”
Step Three: Do it and enjoy the positive ripple effect it creates.
Here are some of the things I’ve done in the past :
- Put a chocolate biscuit on a colleague’s desk when she wasn’t looking
- Picked a few flowers from the garden to fill my home with the sweet scent
- Tidied the bathroom without complaint or resentment
- Dropped some money into my neighbour’s letterbox (her husband had lost his job)
- Thanked the bin men for clearing away all my rubbish
- Offered a short prayer/meditation for someone in need
- Filled my heart with gratitude as I gazed at a photo of my husband
- Smile at myself in the mirror
What amazed me about these small gestures was the ripple effect they created.
- The colleague who received the chocolate biscuit, brought a cake for everyone to share the next day
- My neighbour organized a catch-up and invited me and other women who live in our street
- My kids now regularly bring me flowers
- The bin men always give me a wave
It is incredible the impact our behaviour can have on others, both positive and negative. Taking three minutes to appreciate what is good in life, not only gives the mind a moment to pause and reflect but also to fill with positive images, which create positive emotions and leads to a more positive outlook on life.
I know you may be saying “I’ve heard all this positive stuff before and she doesn’t know what my life is like!” I am not saying anyone should ignore their problems or pretend that life is a bed of roses because I am fully aware that it is not – in fact I KNOW life is difficult.
However, it is equally easy to stay in a negative frame of mind and find it impossible to shift. So, I encourage you to try this exercise for a week and keep a diary of your actions and how they make you feel. I’d love to hear your results.
Do you practice mindfulness on a regular basis? Let us know in the comments.