If stressed or in the midst of a busy day, see if you can take a minute to pause. If you don’t feel you can stop for a minute, try just ten seconds. Just stop and be still. And maybe do the following activities, with patience and curiosity.
Don’t worry if your mind wanders during any of these exercises – it will! When you notice your thoughts have gone elsewhere, just bring your attention back to your present moment experience, with patience and kindness, again and again. This is what mindfulness meditation is - bringing ourselves gently back to the present, no matter how often our mind takes us off to the past and future. And our senses are great at helping us arrive and anchor in the present.
1. Take three deep breaths, notice the sensations in your body as you breathe.
2. Bring awareness to your thoughts and emotions – what thoughts are arising, what emotions? No need to do anything with these thoughts and emotions – see if you can let them be, watch them coming and going, maybe fast, maybe slowly. Acknowledge what you’re feeling, without judgement as much as possible.
3. Notice sensations in your feet and where they are in contact with the ground. Or wherever your body is in contact with something – notice the sensations in your body, the textures and temperature of what you can feel. Taking our attention all the way down to our feet can give us a break from our busy minds.
4. Look outside a window - notice anything that’s moving. Either zoom in to one thing or hold a larger area in your view – is it moving fast or slow, what colours and textures can you see? If you’re able to, go outside and take a little more time to look around, to feel the air on your face. Take time if you can to enjoy yourself.
5. Take three deep breaths, perhaps imagining you can breathe in kindness for yourself, and breathe out kindness to the world.
Maybe take a moment to reflect on how the mind and body feel compared to a few minutes previously. Perhaps notice the benefits of mindfulness.
And proceed with your day!
If you have a little more time, you might like to explore some of our guided meditations and wellbeing poetry in the mindfulness resources pages. These even include a 5 minute meditation to help you relax!