A 1- Minute Mindfulness Trick
Photo by Florencia VIadana
What is Mindfulness
Mindfulness refers to maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Mindfulness does not mean that we stop thinking altogether. Instead, it refers to being aware of our thoughts and observing them, rather than becoming engulfed within them.
A 1-Minute Mindfulness Exercise
The breath is a great tool to use as an anchor to help us stay aware of our thoughts. We can use the breath to meditate but it’s often useful to do short intervals of mindful breathing throughout the day.
If you’re sat at a computer, try setting a timer every 30 minutes to an hour. When the timer goes off, try this quick exercise for a minute or so:
1. Close your eyes or leave them open but without focusing on anything in particular.
2. Do a quick scan of your body, starting from your toes and moving up your legs, your pelvis, abdomen, neck, shoulders, arms and head. Just bring awareness to these areas, you don’t need to try to relax or change anything.
3. Relax your belly (Really relax it and let it all hang out)
4. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Breath in, expanding your belly and then your chest.
5. Hold your breath for a couple of seconds and then gently breathe out without effort.
6. If you had to give yourself a percentage score of how much you were focusing on your breath, what would it be ? Would 30% of your focus be on the breath, or was it more like 50-60% ?
7. Repeat the exercise 3-5 more times, each time trying to up your concentration score. Focus on the temperature of the air entering your nostrils, the sensation as it passes through into the lungs, what it feels like as you exhale. Focus on anything to do with the breath itself.
8. It can sometimes be useful to imagine the breath starting at the pelvis as you inhale and then moving to the crown of your head as you exhale.
9. Sometimes it can be difficult to get into the zone, especially if you’re in the middle of something. That’s ok, just follow the breath and do the best you can. With practice the focus will improve.
That’s it. Try to see if you can repeat this exercise whenever you can throughout the day. You may begin to notice an awareness of stress levels, aches and pains in the body or your mood in general.