Life is busy. Stress is real. Times are challenging. And to some, the idea of 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, there are so many clichés that 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.
Look around you and focus on five things you can see. Try to look beyond and pick things that you wouldn’t usually notice.
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.
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.
Notice the smells that you usually block out, good or bad.
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 begin to focus on each part of the body and how it feels. Set a timer for 10 minutes and move through each step.
Arms should be relaxed with palms facing up. Feet should be slightly apart.
Notice the rhythm as you’re breathing in and out.
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.
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.
Start at the feet and move upwards:
Toes of both feet.
The rest of the feet.
Hands (fingers, palms, back of hands, wrists).
Arms (lower arms, elbows, upper arms).
Face and head (mouth, nose, eyes, ears, forehead, top of head, back of head).
Slowly open your eyes and move naturally into a comfortable sitting position. Take a moment before standing up.
We hope this helps a little on your journey to fit, healthy, happy.