This year I have made more of a conscious effort to read more books. In the past I have read voraciously but with the stresses of life, my love of books took a backseat. I am so glad that I have decided to commit to reading three books a month and one of recent selections was Donald Altman’s One-Minute Mindfulness.
One Minute Mindfulness is a collection of 50 simple ways to find peace, clarity, and new possibilities in a stressed out world. It encourages us to get off of auto-pilot and live fully, starting with the NEXT MINUTE. I was ready to read this book like yesterday!
Altman recommends reading the book “as a journey of discovery” and as a “gentle guide”. I started reading this book in the evenings as my sons had their reading time and just the act of reading it relaxed me. I was able to be fully in the moment and felt peaceful. I cut off the world of constant demands of e-mail, work, (over)scheduling, and immersed myself in the simple yet thought-provoking and life-changing exercises.
[Tweet “May I be safe, May I be happy, May I be healthy, May I be peaceful.”]
One-Minute Mindfulness is organized into five parts:
Part One – “One-Minute Mindfulness for Home and Play”
I soaked a lot of this information in because I believe the first few minutes you awake can set the precendent for the rest of the day. I used his exercises to bring more awareness to my home life. I no longer jump out of my bed in a crazed frenzy even if I have a full day ahead. Those seconds or minutes of peace in my head make all the difference. By slowing myself down when I walk, in the shower…I am finding time to nurture myself and I am seeing the effects throughout the rest of the day. I am also making sure the last moments of my day are spent with mindfulness. I loved the “first taste-last taste journal” and I now use it in my Weight Watchers tracking. My last taste of the day is usually a cup of tea. What is yours?
[Tweet “Engaging in one-minute mindfulness at home maximizes its nurturing potential in the place we count on for peace and mindfulness.”]
Part Two – “One-Minute Mindfulness for Work and Creativity”
The demands of a high stress job was affecting my quality of life some time. I found new purpose and started to be gracious for my work. I even started making plans to re-focus and change my career journey. This is bringing new energy on the way I approach new and existing clients and making me more productive AND effective. One-minute mindfulness at work can transform your experience with daily tasks and I am seeing the results especially the one regarding pleasantness! I consider myself a pretty pleasant person but sometimes I lose my anchor. I am using the affirmations “The treasure of creativity is available to me at all times” and “I let of expectation and let creativity come to me”. Do you use any affirmations in the workplace?
[Tweet “As long as we see failure as something terrible, we cannot fully mature & learn the grace of acceptance. “]
Since I often work from home, I am making a more sincere effort to work in my home office and when I leave my home office, I will start my work to home transition. Sound silly? It’s not! If you work from home, it is so hard to just turn it off so I am using the following intention:
With each unfolding minute upon entering my home and leaving my office, may I discharge negative emotions. May I cultivate patience. May I wisely transition in order to bring love, understanding, and tranquility into my home.
Part Three – “One-Minute Mindfulness for Relationships and Love”
These were great exercises that weren’t just limited for romantic love but interacting with family, peers, and even strangers! I am now more cognizant of how I speak, listen, and I created new rituals for my loved ones. Throughout the day I am finding time to get in touch with myself and listening without judgement (this is a hard one at times!).
There is a section on forgiveness that I re-read three times. I wanted to feel unstuck in what has happened in the past and unwrap the gifts enfolded in the next minute. Altman asserts, “forgiveness does not mean we forget a violation or injustice and allow it to reappear in our lives.” If you need to free yourself of hurts and grievances, this part is a must-read.
[Tweet “”When the heart grows tender, it recognizes the preciousness and fragility of each new minute.””]
Part Four – “One Minute Mindfulness For Health and Well-Being”
This, of course, was the part of the book that I wanted to share most with my Get Fit Diva community. Health is essential for enjoying life in the next minute. No, this book didn’t go into in-depth weight-loss strategies (it does go into depth about appetite) but helped me to calm my mind which helps a lot when you are an emotional/stress eater. I took a personal inventory so I could be more aware of my self-care.
When I read the part in this book I CRIED.
I have wrote about comparison being the thief of my joy and I am working on my “inward smile”. I have spent far too many moments in my life criticizing my body, focusing on my body’s flaws in the mirror, and blaming myself for my past actions. I now take a moment to be THANKFUL for my body. I can walk, I can speak, I can hear…my body is miraculous.
I haven’t felt this positive in a long time. By shifting my focus from my body’s form to its function, I have a more balanced way of looking at my body. I have taken more running underpants and sports bra running shots WITH A SMILE selflies than ever before. I like to think this part of the book helped me re-focus Get Fit Diva. Here’s my new logo and tagline:
I have ways I can reduce my anxiety and negative thinking which are two things that have slowed my healthier living journey and my “hungry ghosts”. I also have tools to help with my appetite for eating moderately. Do you pay attention to your feelings before you eat? Altman has a good practice in the book on discharging negative energy that I use for every meal.
Altman references Susan Albers, an expert on hunger and eating:
“If you think you can calm yourself down without food, you will act in ways that will help you do exactly that. If you don’t think it’s possible, you won’t even try. For this reason, your thoughts hold an enormous amount of power.”
So by using affirmations like “I am worthy of love and support right now” and “I notice my desires and hungry ghosts without giving in to them. I can find true support, comfort, and encouragement in the next minute by (fill in the blank) can help us move beyond cravings so they don’t rule our lives” we can work through our emotional eating issues.
[Tweet “Identify the deeper feeling your hungry ghost is covering up. Explore a spiritual path. “]
Part Five – “One Minute Mindfulness for Nature, Spirituality, and Contemplation”
By taking us back to our childhood, this is a part truly touched my heart. I remember how free I felt as a child playing in nature. I loved watching the comings and goings of insects and animals. I would get lost in the sun’s rays and under the moon’s light. When was the last time I took a few moments to look at the moon? Not just a second to acknowledge if it was a full moon or not while getting out of my car and then scurrying into the house before the bugs got to me? I will now star gaze with my sons–not just with our telescope but on a blanket in our yard. We haven’t done that in what seems forever.
With one-minute mindfulness, I found a way to learn from the natural world…something I had lost along the way. There is a practice on humility that perfectionism that is eye-opening and the last few pages are filled with messages of peace.
[Tweet “Let yourself sit and notice in a neutral and impartial way. Just be present and open. “]
THE VERDICT: This is a must-read on your healthy living journey. If you are ready to stimulate your mind and heart to build awareness and center attention, then read One-Minute Mindfulness. I am using the insights and exercises to build fulfillment in my work, heal relationships. change my unhealthy habits, and appreciate my life more. I borrowed this book from my local library but I am purchasing it for my home library–that is how much I appreciated Donald Altman’s insights!
Do you practice mindfulness exercises? What are you currently reading?