Have you heard of mindfulness but don’t know where to begin? Here are a few simple and quick mindfulness exercises that you can do as you go about your day. You don’t need to be sitting in silence, or in a particular position to do these mindful activities. You can do them while waiting in a queue, preparing meals, sitting at your desk at work; or just about anywhere.
Many people don’t have time to practice formal meditation of thirty minutes or more every day, and while these exercises aren’t a replacement for such practice, learning simple mindfulness techniques can help us to cultivate positive and thoughtful thinking. So here are three key simple techniques to being more in tune with your body and your mind:
The first exercise is simply paying attention to what each single breath feels like. Each breath cycle will usually take about six seconds. Feel the sensation of one breath flowing into your body, and into your lungs. Then feel the sensation of the breath coming out of your body. Notice how each breath feels in each part of your body – your nostrils, your shoulders, your neck, your ribcage, your stomach and the rest of your body. Pay attention to your breath and the way it feels for ten breath cycles.
Observe your thoughts
Close your eyes and take three big, deep breaths. This will ground you in the moment and allow you to focus your attention internally. Allow your mind to follow its natural trail of thinking. Notice the thoughts you are having without judgement or any attempt to control them. Observe your internal chatter, and allow it to flow naturally. Notice the tempo of your thoughts, and any patterns or repetition that might occur. Thoughts come and go from our minds in constant motion. Pay attention to your thoughts for two minutes and then observe how you feel when you open your eyes.
Scan your body
Body scans are a way for us to pay mindful attention to all parts of our body and notice how it is feeling in that moment. You can do this activity wherever you are standing, sitting or lying down. Starting from your feet, notice the way they feel. Are they touching the ground? Feel the points of pressure that your feet create. Attempt to soften any sensations of discomfort you might be feeling. Now allow your thoughts to focus on your legs and observe any tension there. Bring your awareness up higher in your body, your stomach, your chest, and your back. Feel how each breath feels, filling up your body with life. Notice how your shoulders feel, and your neck. Observe any tension you have in your head and in your face. Relax this tension. Once you have scanned from your toes to the tip of your head. Notice any differences in how you feel in your body. Take a deep breath and carry on with your day.
We hope you found this simple guide to checking in with yourself, helpful. While these tips are not clinical advice, or a replacement for intensive mediation practice, mindful thinking will help you stay in tune with your mind and body throughout your day. Let us know how you find these simple activities!