By: Sylvie Barthelemy
Have you ever felt that all the self-care practices you know are too time-consuming to stick to? I have. If you’ve ever worked with me, you know I can find you shortcuts for anything, whether it’s self-massage, meditation, breathing, detox, or relaxation. Consistency is key if your self-care is to yield the biggest return on investment in the long-run. That’s why I’m a big believer in keeping it short and sweet for easy integration in your daily life.
I want to share the concept of micro-practices with you. If you thought a five-minute meditation was short, we’re talking 20–40 seconds (at most) with micro-practices. Plus, there’s nothing to practice. Let me explain.
I first learned about micro-practices from Daniel Odier, a teacher of Kashmir Shaivism and Tantra. A central aspect of tantric philosophy is recognizing the pulse of life present in each moment as it is. Our sensory experiences are used to engage deeper with life, and as such become a gateway for greater aliveness.
[Related: How to Illuminate and Blaze Your Trail]
Implementing micro-practices is not about changing anything you do. It’s about bringing your full presence to whatever you do, wherever you are, and however you’re feeling. As easy as this seems, it can be scary.
Many of us are accustomed to zipping through life, yet our sense of aliveness is commensurate to our capacity to feel and take it all in. By sprinkling a few seconds of full presence throughout your day, you’ll gradually increase your capacity to feel more of your feelings, and consequently feel more alive.
As stated earlier, micro-practices do not require that you change anything to the way you eat, work, exercise, or live. Rather, they’re about zooming in on micro-slices of your day and tuning in to those moments deeply through your senses.
Here’s an example. Right now, I am sitting on my sofa, writing. I stop. I feel: a sensation of hunger in my belly, my belly expanding and deflating, the light touch of my t-shirt against my skin, and my skin feeling a tad moist. Now I return to writing, more aware of my own self.
Here are some other examples:
- You are reading this post. Stop. Feel your whole body. Feel its weight where you are sitting. Focus on the most dominant sensation in your body, observe it, enter it, and become it. Is it cold? Hot? Tight? Spacious? Now, go back to reading.
- You are sipping on your preferred morning drink. Stop. Actually taste the taste of it, smell the smell of it, and sense its warmth (or coldness) as it touches you inside your mouth and flows down your throat. Now, take another sip.
- You are power-walking to your next appointment. Stop. Stand still on a street corner and allow yourself to take in the busy-ness around you. Let the multitude of sounds reverberate through you, sense the tightness in your neck, and feel the beads of sweat on your forehead and your clenched jaw. Now, off you go.
You can bring the same few seconds of heightened sensory awareness to these moments:
- When you open your eyes in the morning and before you do anything.
- When placing a piece of dark chocolate in your mouth. Stop! Don’t bite just yet.
- When you’re impatiently waiting for your cash back at the grocery store.
- Just before you go running out the door.
- Between two sets of squats at the gym.
Micro-practices are a favorite practice of mine. I tend toward nervousness (if you think I have a passion for helping people de-stress because I’m always relaxed, you can think again!), and I can tell you micro-practices work wonders to lure a restless mind into the moment. They’re a great way to gently infuse more mindfulness into all of our busy lives.
Let me know how they work for you. If you need additional guidance to lower your stress and anxiety levels, contact me for a complimentary coaching session.
Sylvie Barthelemy’s passion is helping women struggling with anxiety cultivate a calm mind in a relaxed body. She does this by combining Core Energy coaching, yoga, Ayurvedic medicine, and mindful movement. Her goal is to lead her clients beyond symptom management and toward long-term sustainable healing.
Originally published at www.ellevatenetwork.com.