In our busy lives, sometimes it’s hard to commit to a firm meditation routine. If you’re looking to dip a toe into the waters of mindful living, check out these ten mindfulness exercises that are short, sweet and to the point.
- Take 3 – Take a moment and notice three things you can hear, then three things you can see, and finally three things you can feel.
- Make a Fist – Grasp your hands really tight and hold for 5-10 seconds. When you release notice the feelings in your hands and focus on these for as long as you can.
- The Inside of a Smile – Take a moment and smile to yourself, closing your eyes if you want. Notice how the smile feels on your face. What feelings does smiling evoke in you? You can try this with a small smile or a wide, excited smile.
- Stop and Smell the Roses -Take a deep breath and smell something strong such as coffee beans, flowers, or perfume. Notice the sensations in your nose and the feelings that the scent provokes.
- Mindful Watching – Next time you sit down to watch a movie, pay attention to the process of becoming engrossed in the plot. Notice how the story affects your emotions as it plays out. Remember, the point of being mindful is to observe without judgement.
- Eating Meditation– If you plan on eating at some point during your day, you have the perfect opportunity to be mindful! When you sit down to eat, try to really notice the smell, color and look of your food. When you take a bite focus on how the textures feel in your mouth, the taste of the food and your body’s reaction to it. You don’t need to do this for the entire meal, but really being in the present for one or two bites gives you a few minutes of mindfulness.
- The Candle – Take a few minutes in a darkened room and focus your attention entirely on a lit candle. Notice everything about it. When your mind wanders, bring it back to the candle.
- Take a Hike -If you have 10-15 minutes to walk during the day, this exercise is great for you. As you walk, take the time to really notice your senses. Notice how it feels when your feet touch the ground, what the leaves on the trees look like, the sound of birds or cars passing by. The trick is to keep your mind on the present. If and when your mind drifts to the problems or triumphs of the day, gently bring yourself back to the present.
- One Breath– Take a moment to notice the feeling of just one breath, or more if you’re up for it.
- Body Scan – Starting at the top, slowly work your way down your body, tensing and releasing all of the muscles. Really notice how your body and mind react when you do this.
Ideally, to build your mindful lifestyle, small mindfulness exercises like these would be used alongside the more formal meditation. Think of it as formal meditation being your workouts and these small exercises being your healthy diet. Just like when you adopt a healthy lifestyle, you need continual dedication to your goal for living mindfully. Even if you don’t have the time to devote to formal meditation, taking up small mindful habits can make a difference in your life. Try out these short mindfulness techniques, mix and match them, or combine them to create a mindfulness habit that’s entirely your own.