The Power of One Minute

Overwhelmed. Exhausted and with a long to do list.

That is how my client arrived to our session last week. She had cancelled our last appointment and it had been a month since our last session. She spent several minutes of the session listing what she needed to accomplish.

Her list was not that different from anyone else’s.

  • Organize and deep clean her house
  • Lawn work for the Fall (including power washing as she lives near water and has mold on the house)
  • Her mother needs assistance with her own home as she is disabled and that includes lawn work and cleaning
  • Attempting to eat healthy which means finding time for the grocery and cooking
  • Trying to find time to spend with her almost three year old and “Make memories like I have from my childhood.”
  • She has a full caseload as a Nurse Practitioner and commutes daily from an outlying county. She rarely stops during the day to eat lunch or drink water.

Her To Do list felt like a slippery slope with each one dropping her further down from feeling anything could be accomplished.

She was no longer practicing simple techniques we had previously established.

“I don’t have time.” she responded when I asked her about them. Likely, you might do the same thing to me if I asked you.

Her To Do list had her feeling the extremes of anxiety.

  • She was taking shallow breaths
  • Her muscles (especially her shoulders) were tight
  • Her blood pressure had increased over the past week and she was having headaches
  • She was snapping at everyone and arguing daily with her husband.

I asked her again, “So you don’t have one minute?” I then reminded her that she did have one minute to:

  • Take a deep breath before she knocked on the next exam room door
  • Roll her shoulders and neck
  • Close her eyes
  • Step outside in the sun

She needed to reset as she felt much like a hamster on a wheel. She was spinning and spinning but accomplishing nothing more than adding to her list which made her attempt to do things faster. As a result, she was continually falling behind.

Taking one minute truly does act as a reset.

In one minute, one can.

  • Pause
  • Notice
  • Breathe
  • Walk down the hall
  • Stretch
  • Drink a glass of water
  • Be Grateful

One minute is the difference between responding to a situation and immediately reacting.

One minute can decrease a racing heart.

One minute can calm an anxious brain.

My client recognized that as a result of missing a previous session, she had stopped the small techniques she was working on developing as habits. Our sessions help her with accountability and without a strong practice one can easily fall into old, unhealthy patterns. We used the remainder of the session to review what she needed to do for herself.

As you start your busy week ahead, remember – You have one minute.