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Do you want to try mindfulness meditation but aren't sure where to begin? Try these eight exercises...

If you haven’t tried it before, mindfulness activities can make you more aware of your own body, thoughts and environment – observing and living in that very moment instead of being led by auto-pilot emotions. In these uncertain times, practicing mindfulness is a great way to reduce your stress levels.

 

Other benefits of mindfulness activities include:

  • Decreasing your anxiety and depression levels by helping control your emotions
  • Improving your sleep
  • Helping you progress towards your weight-loss goal by managing stress-related eating
  • Managing any temporary negative feelings
  • At least one minute of meditation for four days in a row can improve your attention span

If any of the above interests you, read on for some one-minute exercises that you can implement in your day:

 

  1. Yawn and stretch for ten seconds every hour

Stretch very slowly for at least 10 seconds. Do you notice any tightness and now feel more at ease? As you yawn, did you realise it interrupts your thoughts?

 

  1. Three hugs and three big breaths

Hug somebody with intent and take three big deep breaths together. If they do not breathe with you, you will help relax them regardless.

 

  1. Mindfully listen to your breathing

Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth very slowly. One breath cycle should last for six seconds. Let go of all thoughts and consciously watch your breath, focusing on your pathway as it enters and fills you with life. If your mind begins to wander, bring it back.

 

  1. Stroke your hands

Close your eyes and take your index finger of your right hand and slowly move it up and down the outside of your fingers like you are drawing them. Once you’ve mindfully done this with your left hand, swap and do the same with your right.

 

  1. Mindfully eat a raisin

Place the raisin (or another small bite of food) into your mouth. For ten seconds, without chewing, observe it on your tongue. How does it feel? Next, prepare to chew the raisin slowly. Think to yourself about the texture – is it smooth, soft, hard? How does it taste? What are the sensations of you swallowing the raisin as it moves down your throat and on its way to your stomach?

 

  1. Clench your first and breathe into your fingers

Have your arms, fingers and thumbs facing down parallel to the ground. Begin to clench your fist tightly. Turn your hand over so your fingers and thumbs are facing upwards. Next, imagine blowing into your fist and notice what happens. An alternative method to be tighten your fists and purposefully open and close them to relax.

 

  1. Listen mindfully

Close your eyes and put on your headphones. Don’t judge the music by genre, just focus on the song – each instrument, the vocals, and analyse the sounds one by one. Don’t think, just hear.

 

  1. Have an intention for today

Think to yourself, what is my intention today? Pause for up to a minute and write down what you want to achieve today. It could perhaps come from love, being kind to yourself or patient. Then say it aloud to yourself. For example, “Today I will be kind to my body by exercising and eating well”.

 

Try to practice any of the above exercises daily for an entire week. Keep a record of each day and notice the difference in your mood – how happy and relaxed you feel. Observe if you have noticed anything else – improved concentration, communication and your general overall wellbeing?

 

Stay safe,

Chelsea Health Club