There’s a saying in the mindfulness world that if you’re too busy to meditate for 20 minutes then you probably need to meditate for an hour. There is sense in this seeming contradiction. If you don’t have just 20 minutes in your day to take care of you, then you may well be feeling the effects of this and in need of a whole lot longer than 20 minutes! Stress, exhaustion and an endless stream of anxious inner chatter can all be side effects of a hectic lifestyle and a lack of self-care. However, for those days when it really is impossible to find 20 minutes to look after ourselves, these 5 mindfulness exercises can be done quickly and easily, any time and anywhere, to give your chattering mind a little bit of respite in your busy day:
- In the morning, pay attention to your first stretch of the day. Observe your movements and notice any sensations, such as ease or tightness, release or restriction, without judging those sensations as good or bad. The practice is just to notice what’s here.
- When you’re drinking your favourite cuppa, really pay attention to what you’re doing, as if it’s the first time you’ve ever had this experience. Notice the sensations of the mug in your hands (texture, temperature, weight), the steam rising from the mug, the smell, the taste, the feel of the liquid in your mouth and any sensations associated with swallowing.
- When your phone rings, pause before answering and follow the rise and fall of your breath for 2 or 3 breaths as it move into and out of your body.
- Take a moment to observe something in your surroundings that you hadn’t noticed before. What do you notice about it? Is it bright, dull, smooth, rough, wrinkled, something else?
- When you brush your teeth, really experience it. Be aware of your feet on the floor, the movement of your hand and arm (and notice what the other arm’s doing too), the sensations of the toothbrush on your teeth and gums, the scent and taste of the toothpaste, any sounds. What does your toothbrush look like? This is a great activity for really activating the five senses.
© Michelle Drapeau, 2019
To learn more about mindfulness, read my article, What is Mindfulness?