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Today is the day I’ve decided to write my first blog post for Kaplan University Writing Guide and like all writers I am a little nervous about the whole thing.  Will it be good enough?  Is the grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure correct?  I wonder if the other faculty members will like my writing or if they think that it is boring or simplistic or uninteresting.  Wow!  While all of these thoughts are running around in my head how can I write?  I can’t!

So what are my options?  I can just choose not to write.  I can chicken out and send an e-mail to Lisa saying I am too busy and have to forgo the opportunity.  Or I could just take a few minutes and do what I do each morning before I start my day—meditate and calm my mind and my body, and find that quiet place within me.

Mindfulness is a wonderful practice that I have used in my classes for 20 years.  Before we begin class or the assignment we take 60 seconds to get relaxed, centered, and simply breathe.  Yes breathe!  My students have learned how to focus their attention on the seminar, or the class, or the assignment they are working on in just 60 seconds.  You have 60 seconds don’t you?

The directions are below.

1. Get comfortable in your chair or wherever you are sitting.

2. Since we hold a lot of tension in our hands let’s give them a good shake. Now place them comfortably in your lap, or on your desk, or wherever they would be most comfortable.

3.  You can do this exercise with your eyes open or closed.  I like mine closed because I am a visual learner and I get distracted by what I am seeing.  So I close my eyes, but you can leave yours open with good results as well.

4.  Next, begin by taking 3 deep breaths, but not so deep that they make you cough.  Count one on the in breath and 2 on the out breath.  Do that slowly 3 times.

5.  Finally, take a minute to think about how you feel.  Is your mind calm?  How does your body feel?  Has the tension gone out of your muscles? Have your shoulders dropped away from your ears? Has your mind calmed down and cleared?  If so, you are ready to being the writing process.

Okay–take  60 seconds and try it out!

When the mind is filled with rambling thoughts, fears, and questions it cannot be creative, focused, or fruitful.  So begin each writing period like this and if you lose your focus in the middle of the writing process stop and do the exercise again.  It will only take 60 seconds out of your writing period and it will give you many minutes of clarity and creativity to use toward a paper that will get you exactly what you desire—a great grade from your professor!

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