Life is busy. Stress is real. Times are challenging. And to some, sitting still, doing nothing, can seem like a waste of valuable time. Too much to fit into one day. No energy to put into starting something new. Know what I mean? But what if you weren’t sitting still doing nothing? What if you were making real and relevant steps towards improving your general health and state of mind? And what if you could start off with something simple and manageable? 10-minute mindfulness exercises; that’s it. Yes, you can.
Meditation is a tool that helps us to connect with the conscious and subconscious layers of our minds. Whether it’s your thing or not, the fact is that it helps us to clear our thoughts and find calm and beauty in the present moment we’re in. And the benefits of this simple exercise are vast. Studies have shown that meditation can lead to more focus, better fitness, help in managing pain and diseases, increased attention span, improved self-image, stress stabilising, better problem-solving and decision-making, enhanced empathy, better immunity, less chance of age-related memory loss, and more. Of course, so many clichés come to mind when thinking about meditation, but the truth is, it doesn’t have to look the same for everybody. You don’t need the gurus, the paraphernalia, the nature sounds (although these things can work wonders for some), or anything other than yourself and a moment with no distractions. And the mental health benefits are profound.
Like any skill or discipline, mindfulness takes practice. Start simple. Keep trying. Keep it regular. You’ve got this 🙂 To get you started, here are two 10-minute mindfulness exercises you can do anywhere:
The idea with this exercise is to focus and take notice of something you are experiencing with each of your five senses. Set a timer for 10 minutes and move through each step.
Bring your attention to 5 things you can see.
Look around you and focus on five things you can see. Try to look beyond and pick things that you wouldn’t usually notice.
Bring your attention to 4 things you can feel.
Notice four things that you are feeling right now. The texture of the clothes on your skin, the warmth of the sun on your face, the chair or ground beneath you, and so on.
Bring your attention to 3 things you can hear.
Listen carefully and take note of three things you can hear around you. The ticking of a clock, the sound of the wind blowing the trees, the sound of a bird chirping. And try to hear things further away, like children playing in the distance, or the sound of traffic far away.
Bring your attention to 2 things you can smell.
Notice the smells that you usually block out, good or bad.
Bring your attention to 1 thing you can taste.
Focus on the thing you can taste at this very moment. Analyse the taste currently in your mouth, open your mouth to taste the air, or take a sip or a bite of something and focus on that.
The idea with this exercise is to get into a relaxed position, remain still, and focus on each part of the body and how it feels. Set a timer for 10 minutes and move through each step.
Lie on your back or sit on a comfortable chair. Close your eyes.
Arms should be relaxed with palms facing up. Feet should be slightly apart.
Bring your attention to your breathing.
Notice the rhythm as you’re breathing in and out.
Bring your attention to your body.
Notice how your body feels. The clothes against your skin, the feeling of the floor or chair beneath you as it makes contact with your body, the temperature of your body and the room you’re in, and so on.
Bring your attention to the parts of your body.
Notice parts of your body that are tingling, feeling pain, feeling heavy or light, where there is no sensation, and so on. Run through each part of your body and focus on how each area feels.
Open your eyes.
Slowly open your eyes and move naturally into a comfortable sitting position. Take a moment before standing up.
We hope this helps you be fit, healthy, and happy.