Stanford researcher BJ Fogg has an interesting approach to behavioral change that he calls Tiny Habits. The idea is that taking baby steps can lead to lasting change if done properly. So, for example, you decide to floss just one tooth after brushing your teeth (more about why that works here).
The thought occurs to me that perhaps a good complement to tiny habits are tiny efforts. So I really like this Mind Fit Move post: How 20 Seconds of Silence Can Change Your Life. I totally believe in the usefulness of meditation, but have struggled with the whole challenge of finding time to sit and dealing with my monkey mind when I do so!
Finding 20 minutes or more to meditate would certainly be ideal, but for those of us who don’t have that regular habit (or even for those who do), this tiny effort seems like a great idea. The author provides a short list of times to try 20 seconds of silence, but concludes that the best time is anytime:
Anytime you need a break, anytime you feel your emotions welling up, anytime you get angry, anytime want to make a snarky comment, anytime you are unsure, anytime you don’t know what to do, anytime you are lonely, anytime you are happy, anytime you are in love, anytime you are anything at all.
When anytime happens take 20 seconds of silence just to enjoy this moment of your life. Absorb how it feels, sense the way it effects your body, and let go of your thoughts.
These 20 seconds of silence is so simple, but it can also be so powerful. It can change your life one moment at a time.
Depending on your breath, 20 seconds is 4-5 slower breaths (or 2 10-second breaths, 5 seconds inhale, 5 seconds exhale … a second-hand clock can be useful for these!). Something to keep in mind for those moments of stress!