We outline four mindful exercises that can help you keep calm and learn to live a mindful life with purpose and clarity.
What are mindful exercises?
Mindfulness exercises are ways of keeping your mind alert, focused, and active. They work to improve concentration, wisdom, and well-being. Most meditation and mindfulness techniques are designed for short-term use, however using these mindful exercises for a period of time can also be beneficial. Keep your mind active and alert Mindful activities are activities that stimulate the mind and take you out of your head, and into a more conscious space. Because these exercises are designed to get the mind working, it is best to do these exercises first thing in the morning or right before you go to sleep. This way, your brain is tired from doing work for a short period of time. So instead of it being awake and not focused, it’s actually tired. That way, it works in your favour.
Good breathing is easy to control and practiced regularly, it helps you calm down and focus on the present moment. Use the time when you’re preparing to perform a task, relaxing at the end of a day, or before you go to bed.
Mindfulness breathing practice is different from regular breathing, and you need to master it. You start with focusing on your abdomen. You inhale, however hold for three or four seconds, and then you exhale, holding your breath for two to three seconds.
You repeat this mindful exercises technique many times for a few minutes. This practice puts you in control and helps you meditate in a few minutes.
Many people have tried meditation in the past however found it to be hard to stick to. With mindful exercises, you are able to practice meditation without having to wait for your body to be open to the feelings of the mind. They create a gap between the ordinary experience of the mind and the action of the body.
Some of the most well-known mindful exercises include: A breathing exercise for stress reduction and to promote overall health. A focusing exercise that allows you to stop and focus on the present moment. An exercise that helps you focus on the breath and to slow your thoughts down.
An exercise that uses the body to help you relax and take in the present moment. A smile exercise that focuses on the feelings of joy and wonder.
Mindfulness is walking. Walking is having the time to really think about the task at hand, observe the sights, sounds and smells around you and absorb them into your mind. Think about your body and the sensation of walking: how your feet hit the ground and how your body moves.
Notice if your breathing is shallow or deep, if you feel your shoulders rising and falling. Sit down for five minutes and then slowly start walking again. Enjoy the experience of walking and notice what you notice as you walk.
Who doesn’t need to learn to eat mindfully? We are no longer a society that’s told what to eat and how much to eat, however we’re all familiar with the self-defeating habit of mindlessly eating while watching TV or looking at our phones. Being able to switch off our ‘hunger’ and ‘satiety’ hormones and process what we eat in a more mindful way can help keep our diet healthy and make us feel fuller for longer.
A study from the University of California in 2015 found that people who are taught to actively try and eat mindfully experienced less overeating, were more likely to select food that is not over-favourited and feel full for longer. In fact, mindful eating leads to higher satisfaction with food, which can contribute to a healthier relationship with food and with our body.
Using the mindful exercises method described above, you will notice yourself consciously and subconsciously living a non-destructive life and your whole outlook on life will change.
The focus of the simple and brief mind exercises above is simple and comes from the findings of the science of mindful and sustained attention. For anyone who has forgotten the technique, you can simply adapt this technique and gain more focus.