fivegoodminutesFull title and credits: Five Good Minutes: 100 Morning Practices to Help You Stay Calm and Focused All Day Long by Jeffrey Brantley, Wendy-O Matik, Wendy Millstine

Things have been stressful in my neck of the woods, so I picked up Five Good Minutes to help me cope. I’m in the fourth month of having my house on the market and my husband has been looking for employment for over a year. Yeah, I’m feeling it… Five Good Minutes is simple enough for beginners to the mindfulness/meditation practice and filled to the brim with suggestions for ways to focus in the morning and get your day off on the right foot. The best part of this book is that there is something for everyone- it is that broad. The techniques that it uses varies from visualizations to mindfully drinking your morning cuppa. The worst part of the book is that, because it covers so much, that it doesn’t really talk about anything in depth. If you’re looking for detailed methods of meditation and relaxation, this is not the book for you.

Why the focus on early in the day?: “The morning is the best time to break away from old habits of thinking and feeling and to set a new direction for yourself and how you will be in your day. Any exercise in this book- done in the morning- has the power to impact greatly on your experience throughout the day, if you allow it!” Personally, I’ve found that I’m at my best in the mornings- well, once I blink the sleep out of my eyes. My mind is clearer and I can focus for longer periods of time. But, if you’re more an afternoon/evening type person, don’t let the title of this book stop you. I think that these practices could be beneficial at any time of the day.

My favorites were- the Five-Fingered Peace pg 32: In which you use your hands almost as a rosary and remember awesome things that have happened to you. Freedom from Tension pg 58: In which you scan your body and focus your relaxation on the stressed out bits. Your First Sip of Tea pg 94: or coffee, for me. Take your time and mindfully drink your morning pick-me-up. A Shot of Faith pg 186: You use visualization to picture a problem turning out perfectly. And finally, Cultivate Gratitude pg 206: “This practice invites you to turn toward the good in your life and to express gratitude as recognition grows.”.

If none of those spoke to you, there are 95 others for you to choose from. Recommended for stressed out people everywhere and those who are interested in bringing a bit of mindfulness or meditation to their day but don’t know where to start. Some further reading: Thank & Grow Rich: A 30-Day Experiment in Shameless Gratitude and Unabashed Joy, Meditations for Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, or 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works. Peace and thanks for reading!

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