5 Easy Mindfulness Exercises You Can Do During Your Sweet Me-Time
Have you ever thought about trying meditation but just don't know where or how to begin?
The main misconception of people about meditation is that it requires a special or a “perfect” setting like a clear, undisturbed space to get started. Although it would be awesome if you do have access to such a place, you should know that there’s a form of meditation that you can do virtually anywhere—in your bedroom before you sleep, in your dining area as you eat, or even in your bathroom while you take a shower! And, no, such conditions don’t take away the benefits you can get from meditating.
This type of meditation is called mindfulness, and practicing it helps you feel intensely aware of the present, putting you “in the moment.”
It has been proven that mindfulness techniques such as breathing methods, guided imagery, and acknowledging bodily sensations can help people reduce their stress levels, boost their memory, and improve their focus—among many others. So if your mind feels a little bit overwhelmed lately, take some time off to give these beginner-friendly mindfulness exercises a try:
Keep A Gratitude Journal
When your head is filled with fears, worries, and negative thoughts, it is hard to see and remember the good things we experience every day. But there’s always something to be grateful about even on what feels like the worst day of your life, and practicing mindful gratitude can give you clarity on this.
The best way to do mindful gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. Set aside some time at night before you go to sleep and recap your day in your mind. Scan through the events that took place over the past 24 hours and try to remember all the nice people you encountered, the moments that made you smile, and even the little life lessons you learned throughout the day, then list them all down in a notebook. Do this every day, and you might be surprised by how much there is to be thankful for in life.
Do It With Music
Music is widely known for its therapeutic properties, so why not start with this simple exercise? Play a random song on your choice of music app and listen to it, paying extra attention to the different instruments playing in the background. As you immerse yourself in the track, try to identify the instruments you hear playing. Are those rhythms from a guitar? Those melodies from a piano? You need not name every single instrument you hear—just what’s familiar, then pick one to focus on. As you turn your attention to it, you will notice that the other instruments will sound fainter. Allow yourself to be swept away by its rhythmic patterns, or switch to another instrument if you wish. Once the song is over, play it once more and just enjoy every sound playing together in perfect harmony.
Yes, you can practice mindfulness even during mealtime.
Eating is an incredibly sensorial experience that most people take for granted, simply because they have to eat to nourish their bodies or to satisfy their cravings. But you can reap more than just nutrients and enjoyment from eating.
To practice mindful eating, start with appreciating the appearance of your food. Take a good look at it. Smell it. Then take small bites and chew mindfully. What are the flavors that you can taste? Name them in your head. Chew a little bit longer, then swallow, and repeat.
Aside from making you more aware of your relationship with food, mindful eating also prevents you from getting hungry too easily or “stress-eating” as chewing well helps in making you feel full longer.
How does walking barefoot make you feel? Do you feel freer? Less constrained? That’s because we have a natural connection to the earth.
To practice earthing, take off your shoes or slippers and try walking barefoot. Pay attention to each step you take and absorb everything that is happening around you. Open your ears and listen to your surroundings. Take slow and deep breaths. Let every sensation envelope you and relish at the moment. By doing this, you get to channel your thoughts and energy on “external” objects, instead of the things that cause clutter inside your head.
Practice Mindful Bathing
If you start your morning routine with a shower, make the experience meditative with mindfulness.
Slowly take off your clothes, and prepare yourself for your shower time. Play some soothing music in the background if you want, but some peace and quiet would be great, too. Listen carefully to the sounds that taking a shower makes—from turning the faucet to the showerhead spurting water. Observe how the jets of water feel on your skin. Slowly and carefully apply shampoo to your hair. Massage your head—does it relax you? Do the same as you apply soap to your body. Breathe in the fragrance of the bathing products you use. Try to associate the scents with fond memories or situations. Allow the suds to settle before rinsing everything off.
You may think you do this every day but paying close attention to how you take a shower makes a world of difference as opposed to rushing the task to make it to school or work on time. It makes for a refreshing experience, too!
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As much as we hate it, stress is an inevitable part of our lives. But despite how common it is, stress will never be healthy and can even take a toll on your physical health. So if you feel as though you’ve been on the edge lately, start with these relaxing activities you can try at home.