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Use this simple countdown to help you clear your head, quiet your mind and find your focus.

Whenever I hear that someone is having a really hectic day, or when I’m having one myself, I immediately think that a few minutes of meditation would really help.  I’m geeky like that.

A simple meditation, just taking a few minutes for yourself and disconnecting with the world of TV and phones and social media, a few minutes to reconnect with yourself and quiet your mind, can really make a big difference in your productivity.  Heck, it can make a big difference in your sanity and your ability to just cope with whatever is going on around you.

But who has time to stop for a meditation session?

Usually not me.  But I found this simple Sensory Countdown meditation that literally only takes a couple of minutes.  And it might be the best couple of minutes of your day.

Why Count Down and Not Up?

Counting down is much more definitive; that is, there is a definite ending.  It can help just to know that you only need a short time, that this won’t drag on, and that you don’t need any alarms or timers to meditate and quiet your mind.

When you count up, you might say “I’m counting to 3!”, but even when you hit that number… its just a start.  You can keep counting to infinity (and beyond).

But when you count down, you know that there is going to be a hard stop at the end.  There is a deadline there.  You know that you can’t just keep counting if things are going your way.

Imagine if NASA said, “Okay, we’re going to count to ten and then we’ll launch.”

Like when a mom says she’s going to count to five and then the bratty kid had better stop being bratty.  Well, the countdown might happen (with a “9 and a half” and a couple of other fractions thrown in) but there’s always the possibility that the count up can continue. When you count down, you know that when you get to zero there aren’t any more numbers.

5 simple steps to quickly quiet your mindSo anyway, back to it!

First, take a second to just sit and breathe.

Close your eyes (unless you’re driving, and then you really shouldn’t be reading this anyway) and just count from 5 down to 1. 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…

Now open your eyes.

You’re probably a little more centered and have started to quiet your mind already, but we’re just getting started.

Keep breathing, and get ready to really start paying attention to what’s going on right now.

This is where the real countdown starts.

You’re going to reconnect with yourself by putting all of your senses to work.

5. Sight

We’ll start with the easy one; put your sense of sight to work. Look around the room/car/stall/cell, wherever you might be, and notice 5 things that you can see with your eyes.  Take a second to let your brain connect with what your eyes are seeing, and put a name to each thing you look at (book. chair. lamp. scissors. Steve.).  When you’ve identified and are aware of one thing, move on to the next until you have noticed 5 things. Got it?  Good!

4.  Sound

Close your eyes (remember the aforementioned driver warning) and listen for 4 different sounds. Focus briefly on each one and again let your brain name what that sound is (bird. fan. baby. Steve.) and then move to the next, until you hit four.

3.  Touch

Keep those eyes closed (after you read this, of course) and let yourself feel 3 things. Physical things, not emotions.  This can be something you happen to be holding in your hand, or the feel of your foot in your shoe, or your butt in the chair.  Again, let your brain pause a moment on each one, long enough to fully identify what you are feeling (elbow on chair, toe against shoe).  We’ll just leave Steve, and HR, out of this one.

2.  Smell

Take a moment to identify 2 things you can smell. This one can be a little bit tougher, and you really have to pay attention to that sense of smell.  It’s possible that this one comes easy for you, especially if you are in a fairly fragrant environment or outside.  If you’re in an enclosed area where someone hasn’t just microwaved their leftover salmon it can be a little trickier.  Let your nose tell your brain what you smell, and let your brain put a name to it.  (dust. Steve.) (somebody really should have a talk with Steve

1.  Taste

Unless you’re eating/just ate lunch, a snack or a lollipop, this one will be the toughest. At least it has been for me.  Put your tongue to the test and, yes, that’s right, identify what you taste right now.  Not that easy, is it?  Well, I just had coffee a few minutes ago, and if I concentrate really hard, I can still taste a little bit of that.  (I should go brush my teeth right now!)

And that’s it! 

If you followed along then you should be much more centered, more focused, certainly much more in tune with what’s going on with you right now.


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Often referred to as “that long-haired computer guy”, Dee Hathaway is a government technology leader with a passion for helping people do things better and a goal of always having the newest cell phone available. His first book Here's What Let's Do: Stop Being Average and Start Being Awesome was an Amazon #1 bestseller.
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