Mindfulness is about being present and aware of the here and now. Too often in life we’re busy focusing on the future or worrying about the past. Mindfulness pulls us back to the present and reminds us that we are valued and loved.
People who practice mindfulness on a regular basis are happier, healthier, and more successful in life. Try these simple mindfulness techniques today and experience the difference for yourself.
A self-compassion pause
In this exercise, you sit somewhere quiet and take a few deep breaths. You decide whether you will focus on awareness of your heart, your body, or your thoughts. You acknowledge that awareness will help you to move forward with compassion. You hit pause on your thoughts and movements, and take time to notice your feelings as you experience them. If a thought comes to you, just acknowledge it, and wave it away.
Next, place your hand over your heart, take a few deep breaths, acknowledge your suffering and painful feelings as you experience them. Say to yourself. “This is what suffering (pain/hurt) feels like. It is part of being human. I accept myself and love myself just as I am.”
You can perform the five-senses exercise quickly whenever you need a mindfulness boost. It’s about experiencing the world with all your senses.
Start by taking a few deep breaths and bringing your attention to the world around you. Notice five things you can see around you. Try to choose things you wouldn’t normally notice – a pattern on a tile, a shadow against the building, etc.
Next, notice four things you can feel – wind on your skin, hard floor beneath your feet, texture of your clothing, etc. Then, do three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. While you do this exercise, continue to breathe deeply. By the time you finish, you will be in a mindful state.
The three-minute mindfulness
This is another quick exercise you can do to bring your focus to the here and now. It’s great if you have a busy mind and struggle to focus during meditation.
If you have a timer on your mobile phone, set it to alert you at one-minute intervals for three minutes. For the first minute, ask yourself the question, “what am I doing right now?” Focus on your feelings and sensations in your body, as well as the thoughts that come up. Give words and phrases to your feelings and thoughts.
In the second minute, focus on your breathing. Take deep breaths into your diaphragm, and release.
During the third minute, expand your attention from your breath out through your whole body. Focus on how breathing feels in different parts of your body. Observe thoughts as they pop up and disappear, bringing back your focus on your body.
Find more mindfulness exercises on Positive Psychology.
Have you tried mindfulness exercise or meditation? What benefits have you noticed?