What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is “paying attention in a particular way: On purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment” (Jon Kabat-Zinn).
In this busy world of ours, our minds are constantly being pulled in a million directions, scattering our thoughts and emotions and often leaving us feeling at best stressed and at worst highly anxious. Most of us don’t have five minutes to sit down and relax, let alone 30 minutes or more for a meditation session. But it is essential for our wellbeing to take a few minutes each day to cultivate some mental spaciousness.
5 Mindfulness Exercises You Can Try Today
If you are a busy mama, (or busy anything!) like me, try out one or two of these simple mindfulness exercises to empty your mind and find some much-needed calm amidst the madness of your hectic day. Find one that resonates with you and your habits and fits most easily into your day. You’re more likely to follow through if it doesn’t feel like something extra.
This exercise can be done standing up or sitting down, and pretty much anywhere at any time.
Either way, all you have to do is be still and focus on your breath for just one minute.
- Start by breathing in and out slowly.
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Let your breath flow as effortlessly as possible.
- Let go of your thoughts. Let go of things you have to do later today or pending projects that need your attention. Simply let thoughts rise and fall of their own accord. Notice. And let them go.
- Purposefully watch your breath, focusing your sense of awareness on its pathway as it enters your body and then as it leaves.
And that’s it. You just practiced a moment of mindfulness.
2. Mindful Observation
This exercise is simple but incredibly powerful because it helps you notice and appreciate seemingly simple elements of your environment in a more profound way.
The exercise is designed to connect us with the beauty of the natural environment, something that is easily missed when we are rushing around in the car too busy to see what is actually around us.
- Choose a natural object from within your immediate environment and focus on watching it for a minute or two. This could be a flower or an insect, or even the clouds.
- Don’t do anything except notice the thing you are looking at. Simply watch for as long as your concentration allows.
- Look at this object as if you are seeing it for the first time. Explore every part of it.
- Allow yourself to be present in the moment without distractions. (put your phone away! no pictures of the beauty you’re witnessing!)
- Just witness.
3. Mindful Listening
This exercise is again simple but powerful It is designed to help you conn
- Choose a natural sound from within your immediate environment. Close your eyes and focus on just listening for a minute or two.
- Don’t do anything except hearing what you are listening to.
- Listen without judging the sound for beauty or comparing it to something you’ve heard before.
- Allow yourself to be present in the moment without distractions.
- The idea is to listen intently, to become fully entwined within the moment. Don’t think, just hear.
4. Mindful Appreciation
In this last exercise, all you have to do is notice 5 things in your day that usually go unappreciated.
These things can be objects or people; it’s up to you.
The point of this exercise is to simply give thanks and appreciate the seemingly insignificant things in life, the things that support our existence but rarely get a second thought.
Write your 5 things down. And better yet, find a buddy and create some gratitude accountability by texting each other your 5 things every day. Soon you’ll have a whole library of moments and things you’re thankful for.
4. Mindful Senses
- Close your eyes.
- Take 3 deeps breaths.
- Notice 3 things your can hear.
- Find 3 Things you can smell
- Feel 3 things you can touch.
- Lastly, Look for the furthest 3 things you can see.