‘Mindfulness’ has become a bit of a buzz word, and seems to be gaining in popularity every day. It’s easy to see why.
Unlike a formal meditation practice, which requires a commitment to
retreat from the world, sit still, and be quiet for a period of time,
mindfulness is a technique that can be practiced throughout the day as
you go about your life. This makes the technique especially appealing
for people who are busy, or feel daunted by a more formal meditation
So what exactly is mindfulness? According to mindfulness teacher and
writer, Jon Kabat Zinn, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a
particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
In other words, mindfulness involves consciously directing your
attention onto what you’re doing, feeling, thinking, or experiencing in
the present moment.
Kabat Zinn says, to practice mindfulness, we must, “watch this moment,
without trying to change it at all. What is happening? What do you feel?
What do you see? What do you hear?” Many people find that practicing
short, mindful moments of this nature regularly throughout the day to be
an effective way to relax, refocus attention, and reconnect with the
Mindfulness can be practiced at literally any time throughout the
day, during any activity. However, sometimes when we are first starting
to practice, we forget to be mindful. For this reason, it can be useful
to incorporate some mindfulness exercises into our day that allow us to
get used to the practice.
Here are 5 mindfulness exercises that take one minute or less.
Before answering the phone, take a breath.
Mindfulness teacher and monk, Thich Naht Hanh, advises to use the
ring of the telephone as a ‘bell of mindfulness.’ Instead jumping up in
instinctively to answer it, take a deep, mindful breath before you
respond to the sound. The same can be done with text messages, emails or
other notifications that we tend to react to immediately.
Walking is a great opportunity to incorporate mindfulness throughout
your day. Whether you’re walking to a meeting, the bathroom, or the
fridge, take that short amount of time to notice and be thankful for
every step your feet take, or as Thich Naht Hanh says: “Walk as if you
are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
Whenever you find yourself ruminating on the past or worrying about
the future, you can connect with the present moment through your breath.
Notice the way it feels entering your nostrils, and how your chest and
belly rise with your inhales, and fall with your exhales. Say to
yourself: “Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in,” and “Breathing
out, I know that I am breathing out.”
one minute to scan your body from head to toe, noticing any sensations
you discover along the way, pleasant or unpleasant, without judgment.
You might have a headache, tension in your neck, an itch on your cheek, a
pleasant tingling or warmth in your fingers—anything. Don’t react or
After scanning, take another minute to focus your mind on consciously
relaxing the areas where you experienced tension or pain, and then
again, notice any changes or differences.
Take two mindful bites.
Although many teachers suggest making every bite mindful, this can be
hard to practice in our day-to-day lives, as meal times are often
social times, full of conversation. Instead, try to make the first two
bites or swallows of any eating or drinking you do, mindful.
Notice the taste, texture, appearance, smell, and temperature of the
food or drink, the sounds you make and the sensations in your mouth and
throat as you chew and swallow. You may notice that after starting your
meal times this way, you naturally become more mindful throughout the
Practice regularly and eventually you will see, as Thich Naht Hanh says:
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
-The Alternative Daily
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