Think of this as a way of pressing Ctrl Alt Delete for your brain – we all need a quick reset.
One minute is not a long time, or is it? Imagine listening to one minute of silence on the radio. Imagine one whole minute of a truly awful kiss with a wandering tongue. Imagine waiting a whole minute for an audience to laugh at your joke. Imagine listening to one whole minute of Boris Johnson bimbling on with himself, okay so we have all endure that last one and I think we can agree in certain circumstances a minute can feel like a bloody long time. What if instead of enduring a painfully long minute we experience a blissfully restorative one. Let me show you.
1. Candle Staring
We all know that the blue light that emanates from our laptops, TVs and phones can have a disruptive effect on our melatonin levels which disrupt sleep and rest. What about the warming light of a natural flame? There are deep seeded anthropological reasons for humans being drawn to fire; early humans saw fire as integral to safety, survival and socialising. There is a rhythm to the movement of a flame that is hypnotic and being around fire sparks the imagination and reminds us of the elemental forces in and around us. We are not all able to have an open fire in our home but we can have a daily candle.
2. Run Your Hands Under The Tap
Staying with the elemental forces theme here running our hands under a tap for a whole minute. The reason we are drawn to water and images of water is biological one. Our bodies rely on water for life, we are drawn to it at a basic animal instinct level. There is a real benefit to cold water swimming but I have hEDS and my hands hurt so I use a warm tap. Run your tap and slowly move your hands under it, think about how the water feels, think about how water gives you life, supports your weight and soothes you.
3. Close Your Eyes & Listen
This is one you can even do in the office. From the moment we are born we have a sensory overload. We are so bombarded that we stop becoming aware of small details. Our brain simply edits them out, the older we get the more editing it does, like the Instagram algorithm it decides what you like and what you find useful.
Sometimes I take my kids on a listening walk. We go into the woods at the back of the house and walk, I ask them what they can hear, They we sit and close our eyes and then tell each other what we heard with our eyes closed. Even if all you hear is the whir of CPUs, the hum of the light, the tapping of a keyboard it is a good way to discover what your brain filters out. I am partially deaf and I still benefit from this one.
4. Hold A Cooling Cup
I have two books I write in for the children, in them are memories, anecdotes, silly things they have said. They also contain mama wisdoms one of which is that holding a warm cup always makes you feel better, try it, it’s true, even if you don’t like hot drinks.
Yes you could hold anything that is warm and cools down; photocopies, a hot water bottle, a hand warmer, but a cup is something that we all have access to and takes roughly a minute to cool – I have tested this. Hold your empty cup and focus on how warm it is and comforting the warmth is on your hands. As you do so for the minute be aware of the changes in the temperature to the cup.
5. Bare feet
Everyone is aware of how deliciously calm and soothing it is to walk barefoot along the sand whilst the water tickles your toes or on soft sweet grass but the grounding effect of bare feet can be achieved anywhere outside.
Let me tell you a story, earlier this year I was walking the dog in the woods and through the sheep fields at the back of our house. Suddenly a pain in my foot, then another, and another. Naturally I took my shoe off to see what was in there. I saw the biggest ant outside of the equator was in there. Did it want to come out no, instead it ran and hid in the torn liner of my trainer. There was no way in hell I was putting my foot back in there but I still had to walk back home. I was without socks, I often am in warm months, so I had to just walk home. This was not a stroll on soft grass or playing in the sand. This was a walk through squelchy muddy fields, rocky twiggy paths. What I thought would be an awful walk carrying a trainer with a killer sized ant and a crazy dog through mud and dirt was actually really calming. I was suddenly taking real note of where my feet were going and what was safe footing. The whole thing was very grounding.
None of these methods are fix all techniques they a moment in time. When our computer gets caught in a loop we press Ctrl Alt Delete to reset it, sometimes we need to do that for our brain. I hope you find some help in these hard times where it is so easy to fall into a deep dark thought vortex by taking one mindful minute.