I totally stumbled across this article — I was reading another one about dogs not liking hugs, which turned out to be sort of silly and obvious and this one was a link on the side — but I like it so much that I need to save it, and what better place than my blog?

Basically, it suggests an incredibly simple mindfulness exercise: for fifteen seconds, notice your breathing, in and out. And then ask yourself, which of my character strengths am I going to bring to my next action?

The character strengths are categorized into Wisdom, Courage, Temperance, Transcendence, Humanity, and Justice and then broken down within those sections into deeper levels. Some of them will be easy for me to remember to use: perseverance, creativity, curiosity. I recognize and appreciate those strengths in myself. (From the Wisdom and Courage sections.) But appreciation of beauty and excellence; gratitude; and hope (Transcendence) are just as useful and necessary in my life.

And then the others — love, honesty, bravery, zest, judgement, love of learning, humility, perspective, kindness, humor, spirituality, forgiveness, prudence, self-regulation, fairness, leadership, teamwork, social intelligence (in no particular order) — well, I won’t remember to use them as often, but I hope having written this post will encourage me to turn to the idea of approaching life from a position of mindful inner strength when I need them. It’s fifteen seconds that could change my day.

In other news… my list of things to do seems to keep getting longer instead of shorter, but I think the items on it may be getting both easier and more nit-picky. A new one that I added today is that my painters missed an area in the front room. I’m not sure how I missed it on the run-through and part of me wants to just ignore it. But now that I’ve spotted it, I see it every time I walk through the room. So finding a little can of the same color paint and touching it up is now on my list. And re-grouting my bathtub looks so good that now I want to re-grout the other bathtub. I painted the interior of the French doors that lead to the patio and the inside of the laundry room door — they both look so nice that I’m considering painting the exterior doors. That kind of stuff. Maybe they’re delaying tactics? Or distractions to keep me from obsessing about the thing that I really need to do, aka finish writing Grace.

Speaking of which… yeah, I should be doing that right now. But I’ll breathe for fifteen seconds first and then bring a character strength with me. Or maybe two. It seems like a time for both perseverance and creativity!