You’ve probably heard about the benefits of practicing mindfulness. It can help reduce anxiety, increase self-awareness, encourage kindness, and even improve tolerance around physical pain. And luckily, mindfulness can be practiced in any moment, even for just 1 minute at a time.
It’s like a more practical, accessible kind of meditation.
Mindfulness is simply a heightened state of awareness or consciousness. There are both formal and informal ways to do this.
A more formal example is what comes to mind when many of us think of tradtional meditation: sitting cross-legged on a beach, eyes closed, breathing deeply and emptying all of the thoughts in your mind.
But mindfulness isn’t quite so daunting. You can incorporate it into any everyday activity.
If you want to delve deeper into mindfulness, I highly recommend you check out the post I wrote after seeing Spiritual Leader, Eckhart Tolle, speak about mindfulness, and feeling more alive when you put down your phone. You can also check out his book, The Power of Now.
But for now, these 5 exercises will help bring the the mental health benefits on mindfulness into your life. Each one only takes 1 minute, but don’t be surprised if you want to go for longer once you try them!
1. Move More Slowly on Purpose For 1 Minute
Many of us are constantly busy, always in a rush, always working to cross the next item off of our to do list so we can move onto the next item.
We rarely take the time to slow down, because we think we don’t have the time.
But we do.
The next time you’re walking to work, purposefully move more slowly. Put one foot in front of the other more intentionally, and challenge yourself to take your time.
2. Pay Attention To Your Meal For 1 Minute
The next time you sit down for a meal, notice your senses, and become more aware of the different aspects of your experience.
Before you put the food in your mouth, think about where it came from, how it got to your plate, and all of the energy it took to get from a seed, or across the world, or the ocean, to where you are in that moment.
And take a closer look. What are the colors of your dish? The different textures you see? Maybe light is reflecting on your food in a way that you wouldn’t have noticed before.
Then, when you eat, How does it feel when it’s in your mouth? What does the food sound like as you chew it? And as you swallow? Pay attention to your body and the ways in which it changes as you continue eating.
3. Put On Headphones And Listen To Music For 1 Minute
When most of us listen to music we’re driving, on our daily commute, working on the computer, or even exercising.
But when is the last time you just put on headphones, and listened – truly listened – to a song? With no distractions, or things to do while the music is playing?
Try it for 1-minute. Close your eyes, and pay attention to what you hear. Notice how you feel in your body as you listen. And enjoy.
4. Focus on your Breathing For One Minute
We hear this so much, and for good reason – focusing on your breath is a great way to get out of your mind (AKA the nonstop chatter of thoughts) and into your body.
When we pay attention to our breath, we are automatically engaging in the present moment.
And, we are always breathing, so every moment is an opportunity to meditate on our breath, simply by focusing on the way it feels inside our bodies.
Count to 5 as you breathe in, then count to 5 as you breathe out. That’s all it takes to start to focus on your breathing.
5. Use Your Senses As You Wash The Dishes For 1 Minute
The next time you’re washing the dishes, try this:
Pay attention to what you see. Look more closely at the water running than you usually do.
Listen to the sound of the water, the sponge squishing on the plate.
Smell the bubbles from the soap. Notice how they feel your fingers.
Move through the experience more slowly. See what it brings up for you.
There are endless ways to practice mindfulness. If what you tried hasn’t worked, try something else!
And if you want to delve deeper into how to be more mindful, download this free guide, Overcoming Anxiety Holistically, for a mind/body/spirit approach to calming anxiety.
The more you practice, the more you will strengthen your mindfulness muscle. Pretty soon, mindfulness will come automatically.
Let me know if you tried out any of these exercises, and which one was your favorite!