In August I read Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, by Tim Ferriss. Eighty percent of the people he interviewed adhered to some meditation or mindfulness practice. My favourite parts of the book were several mindful exercises suggested by Chade-Meng Tan, a Google pioneer. They are so do-able and can easily be incorporated into our daily lives.
Chade Meng tells us that all we need to commit to is one mindful breath a day. Just one. Breathe in and out mindfully, and your commitment for the day is fulfilled. Everything else is a bonus.
There are two reasons why one breath is important. The first is momentum. If you commit to one breath a day, you can easily keep up the practice. Later, when you feel ready for more, you can extend it easily. You can say you don’t have 10 minutes today to meditate, but you cannot say you have no time for one breath, so making it a daily practice is very easy.
The second reason is – having the intention to meditate is itself a meditation. This practice encourages you to create an intention to do something kind and beneficial for yourself daily, and over time, that self-directed kindness becomes a valuable mental habit. When self-directed kindness is strong, mindfulness becomes easier.
So go ahead, try it out! Take one, deep, mindful breath. Inhale as much as you can, then exhale it all out of your mouth.
Make sure to listen to the sound and feeling of the air going inside your nose and filling your lungs, and listening to it slowly drift out of your mouth. A mindful breath is one where you’re in the present, and listening to the act of yourself breathing.
Remember; never underestimate the power of one breath. Mental fitness and joy both start here, with one breath.