5 minutes a day: Rituals to Change your Life


There just aren't enough hours in the day. Time is money. Life is short. Time stops for no one.We get the picture. Life is hectic and, as much as we'd love to implement drastic lifestyle changes that will enable us to lead a zen-filled existence all day every day, that ain't happening anytime soon.But that doesn't mean we should give up completely. There are still ways to inject a little bit of mindfulness into our daily routine in yummy bite-sized pieces. Each of the suggestions below takes five minutes or less. They don't require fancy schmancy equipment, lots of money or even a computer: it's portable mindfulness:1. Gratitude notes Positive psychologists rave about them and, thanks to sites like Gratitude Log and THXTHXTHX, most people have experienced the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with appreciation. Think about anything you feel grateful for right now and write a little thank you note.Maybe you appreciate that can of Diet Coke for really perking you up, or maybe you appreciate the fact that work is quiet so you can finish a certain blog post before going on holiday (ahem). Whatever it is: person, object or abstract noun, take a few minutes to show it some love.2. JournallingThere's a misconception that people who journal spend hours pouring over their Moleskine notebooks, staring purposefully into space or typing furiously on their Mac Book Pros in dark coffee shops. However, journalling is the high-class hooker of personal development tools. It sits in front of you and says 'I can be anything you want me to be'. Long rambling paragraphs are fine, but bullet points, lists, spider diagrams and doodles also count. There's no such thing as the 'proper' way to journal, so go mad.3. Sentence CompletionSentence completion is a way of exploring our associations and thought patterns. Starting with the first part of a sentence (also called the sentence  stem), you then finish it off using 5-10 different endings. There are many sentence completion programs available online, including one by American psychologist Nathanial Branden.4. Relaxation/meditationIt's pretty amazing how taking 5 minutes and doing nothing can make all the difference to the rest of your day. A lunch break is the perfect time to do this. Try and find a quiet, secluded spot and just close your eyes. Don't get carried away by thoughts, just let them come and go while you notice what emotional and physical feelings are present. Meditation Oasis offer a series of free meditations that you can download as a podcast.5. YogaGone are the days when yoga required a mat, straps and copious amounts of incense. Youtube is a goldmine of DIY videos on how to do just about everything, from a full-body workout to work-friendly can-do-under-desk-while-boss-isn't-looking wrist yoga. Give yourself a stretch and see how it feels.6. Unplug for 3-5 minutes......and sing and/or dance like you’ve never sung or dance before. No headphones, no mumbling, no tiptoeing around (the neighbours will be fine). Just go wild for one song.7. Weekly reviewThis might take longer than 5 minutes, depending on how detailed you want to be. The weekly review involves asking yourself about the best parts of the week and the worst parts of the week. What would I change if I could? What can I learn for next week? What was I proud of this week? What wouldn’t I have done any differently? The list can also include things like the biggest surprise of the week and heart-warming moment of the week.What rituals do you involve in your week? Which ones would you like to introduce in the future?Photo Credit: visualpanic via Compfight cc