In a world full of distractions competing for our attention and the feeling of constantly running out of time, it is crucial to take the time to de-stress and bring more positive thoughts into our lives. This is exactly what mindfulness can help us achieve. We’ve put together some easy to implement mindfulness exercises which will only take a few minutes of your day.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness doesn’t just mean sitting still and meditating. Mindfulness is paying attention to yourself and your environment, being truly present in the moment. Practicing mindfulness will improve your ability to focus without thinking of the shopping that still needs to be done and that email that you “quickly” have to send. It also improves positive thinking through pushing negative thoughts out of your mind and will ultimately help reduce stress in your every day life.
Although practicing mindfulness might sound like a lengthy process, there are some very simple mindfulness exercises which you can implement into your daily routine.
Liz Peters mentions this mindfulness exercise in her latest post “Are you a bit frazzled? This will help.”
- Step away from your desk.
- Stretch and then stand with your feet squarely on the floor.
- Take 3 full intentional breaths:
On each inhale lengthen the back of your neck and grow taller. On each exhale relax your eyebrows, jaw, tongue, throat, chest and belly and let your weight sink into the floor.
- Choose a natural object and focus on watching it for a minute or two. This could be a cloud, a flower, a water feature – whatever you choose.
- Relax into watching for as long as your concentration allows. The longer you watch the object, focus on every aspect of its appearance.
- If you feel your concentration shift, close your eyes and refocus to start again.
Stand up and stretch out your arms in front of you. Clap once and concentrate on the feeling in your palms until it starts to fade. You can also choose to skip the clapping part and just grasp your hands really tight and hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then release and pay attention to how your hands feel.
Smell something strong, such as coffee beans or flowers on your desk and pay close attention to what happens in your nose and what feelings these scents evoke.
Another exercise mentioned by Liz Peters.
- Put your feet flat on the floor, with your weight evenly distributed.
- Take a full breath in.
- As you breathe out think of something positive that makes your heart smile. This can be anything you like, from family and friends to holiday destinations and your favorite food. When we think of things that make us happy and go “aaaah”, we automatically soften.
If you’re interested in practicing mindfulness through meditation, read more about how our Productivity Ninjas use Calm in their every day lives. We’ve also put together some tips for you to introduce mindfulness in the office, have a look here.
By Hannah Urbanek
Hannah is Think Productive UK’s Head of Outreach and the voice behind much of our global editorial and social media content.