By Jennifer McCartney
Dina Proctor is a life and business coach with a specialty in mind-body connection. The bestselling author of “Madly Chasing Peace: How I Went From Hell to Happy in Nine Minutes a Day,” joined Tammy Mastroberte, founder of Elevated Existence Magazine, for the “Living an Elevated Existence Mind, Body & Soul Summit Season 2,” to reveal just how vital our mindset is in shaping our bodies, relationships and outer reality and how 3-minute bursts of focused meditation throughout the day can transform our lives.
Dina discovered 3 x 3 meditation (3 minutes of meditation 3 times a day) at a low point in her life when she was struggling with alcohol addiction, and tried meditation but found that sitting still for 20 minutes just wasn’t working. She found her body “maxed out” at around three minutes. Instead of being frustrated by this, she decided to listen to her intuition and instead of sitting for a full 20 minutes, she broke up the time throughout the day in three-minute segments.
“Our intuition always knows the best route for us,” she explained. “If we nourish our bodies three time a day why not nourish our soul three time a day?” And 3 x 3 meditation was born.
These short bursts can also be a good starting point if people are curious about meditation, she noted. “Just putting yourself into a relaxed state for three minutes is taking you out of your stress state. And putting yourself in a relaxed state has a huge effect,” she said. “I don’t doubt that if you’re going from zero to once a day that you’ll have a positive benefit.”
Effectiveness is not tied to the time period, but about taking that break to disconnect. It’s about what gets us into that space of “emotional gratitude,” said Proctor. “Whether it’s 5 x 5 or 3 x 3 or whatever. Even 10, 20, 30 seconds of uninterrupted focused mental energy…is way more effective than sitting there and letting your mind wander.”
The important thing is the function of meditation to interrupt negative thoughts, and to rewire the brain’s stress response. “You’re constantly interrupting your subconscious programming,” she explained. Our recurring negative thoughts about how we’ll never lose weight, or how we’ll never look as good as someone we see on television get disrupted. Eventually a switch will flip in our brain, and we’ll have escaped those negative programs, she said.
Working in Cycles
To bring structure and intention to your 3 x 3 she advises working in seven-day cycles. Chose one intention to take into your meditations that week, and at the end of the week check in to see what has changed. “Within seven days you’re likely to see some kind of difference within yourself,” she explained. It could be that we are sleeping a bit better or feeling less stressed at work, or simply more aware of our thoughts.
You’re rewiring your brain pattern,” she said. What will manifest are feelings of emotional connectivity and feelings of creativity and inspiration. She compared meditation to gardening. “You have to weed the garden and till the soil. You have to create the space so that the flowers can grow,” said Proctor.
One of the challenges may be finding time in the middle of the day to make space for it. But the mid-day meditation in the 3×3 cycle is an important one because this is when mind chatter is at its loudest, said Proctor. That’s why it’s important to interrupt this chatter and do the meditation anyway.
“We think whatever we have going on is so amazingly important that we can’t take time for our higher self,” she said. “It’s believing the universe wants you to succeed. You’ll notice you have few minutes after your last meeting and before your next one.”
She also suggested popping out to the car or running to the bathroom in order to make the time. “It might feel overwhelming but realize that when you start one thing it may…have this trickle down effect. Set your timer. The universe is not going to sabotage you. The universe is setting us up for success,” she noted.