Practice mindfulness with these 1-minute exercises

Mindfulness (n.)

The practice of being aware of your body, mind, and feelings in the present moment, thought to create a feeling of calm.

Practicing mindfulness does wonders for your mental health. One of the amazing things it does is helping you increase your ability to control your emotions. Meanwhile, it also leads to a significant decrease in the stress, anxiety, or depression you might be struggling with.

But what is mindfulness, and why do we need to practice it? 

In his book Mindfulness for Beginners, the well-known mindfulness teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn highlights that the awareness of the mind is about being fully present in the moment. He argues that it is cultivated by paying attention “on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.”

Hence, making mindfulness a part of your everyday routine would open your eyes and soul to what truly matters in life right here, right now.

However, not everyone has the time to listen to long podcasts discussing the power of focusing on the now or read the countless books written about this boundless topic. Luckily, as PcychCentral suggests, you can still practice mindfulness, even if you have only one single minute of free time to do so.

Here are 6 incredible mindfulness exercises you can do in only 1 minute:

1. Appreciate the first moments of waking up. 

Hearing the alarm buzzing on a Monday morning is not the most pleasant experience. However, the first moments of your morning often set your mood for the whole day. A single minute of practicing mindfulness might make a massive difference in how you would feel throughout the following hours. Here’s what you can do:

  • Get comfortable.
  • Stretch a little and do a quick mind-scan of your body.
  • Observe how each part of your body feels at that moment.
  • Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

2. Just sit. 

The following exercise is inspired by the Center for Healthy Living at Kaiser Permanente. It is quite easy to perform, and the best thing is that it can be done in less than a minute!

  • Sit up straight and plant your feet on the floor.
  • Put your hands in a balanced position and close your eyes.
  • Focus on your breathing.
  • When the minute has passed, gradually open your eyes.

3. “Before you walk through a door, pause.”

This practice was invented by pediatrician Jan Chozen Bays. In her book How to Train a Wild Elephant, she says:

“Before you walk through a door, pause, even for a second, and take one breath. Be aware of the differences you might feel in each new space you enter.”

The expert also advises being mindful of the feeling you get after closing a door and entering a new environment. She explains:

“We often move immediately into a new space without finishing up with the old one, forgetting to close the door or letting it slam shut.”

4. Pay attention to each step. 

You can meditate while walking. Yes, you read that right! As you walk from the bedroom to the living room, or from your car to the office, you can still practice the art of mindfulness. This one-minute training is suggested by Buddhist mindfulness teacher Thich Nhat Hanh in his book Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices.

  • As you walk, be alert about each step you take.
  • Try synchronizing your breathing with your pace of walking without forcing any of the two. For instance, count 1-2-3 steps and inhale. Then count 1-2-3 steps and exhale.
  • Say a phrase that matches the rhythm of your walking. Thich Nhat Hanh suggests: “With each step, a gentle wind blows.”

5. Imagine a box.

Box breathing is another great exercise that helps you enhance your awareness while occupying your full attention. You can practice it while waiting for the bus, at the grocery store line, at a traffic light, or in any situation that you need to wait. Simply put, you count your breaths while visualizing a box.

  • First, inhale to the count of 4 as you visualize the top edge of a box.
  • Second, hold your breath for a count of 4 as you go down along the right side.
  • Then, exhale for a count of 4, moving from right to left along the bottom edge.
  • Next, hold for another count of 4, going up along the left side, back to the top.
  • Repeat for at least a minute.

6. Meditate while doing everyday activities. 

If you are interested in meditation practices, you have probably heard of the term Free-range meditation. It comes from Dan Harris, Jeff Warren, and Carlye Adler’s book Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics. You can try it while doing various mundane everyday activities, such as taking a shower, for example.

Begin with paying attention to the temperature of the water. Observe the way your body reacts to warm water, then switch to cold for a few seconds to see what changes. If your thoughts begin to wander, bring them back gently. A simple thing like taking a shower can help you decrease stress, minimize anxiety, and boost your self-awareness.

Do you agree that practicing mindfulness is necessary? Have you tried any of these exercises? Would you like to try them now? Let us know in the comment section!

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