Mindfulness exercises

There are many to choose from, but the best mindfulness exercises may be those that are simple and accessible to all while still helping you to live in the moment. Mindfulness, like most things worth doing, does not just happen; it must be worked at and practiced on a regular basis in order to be most beneficial to you.

The Mindful Pause is one of the best mindfulness exercises. This is extremely simple, but also very effective, and only requires two steps:

  • First, pause for 10-15 seconds to feel your in-breath and out-breath.
  • Finally, ask yourself, 'Which of my character strengths should I bring forward right now?'

This exercise is so effective because it is short, doesn't take up much time in your daily schedule, and easily integrates into whatever you are doing, whether it's just waking up, eating lunch, sending an email, or driving home from work, for example. It brings you into the present moment and prompts you to consider your best strengths, preparing you to be your best self and allowing you to bring your best self to the moment. This allows you to be better prepared for difficult situations, handle stress more easily, and share your strengths more freely.

The character strengths are as follows:

  • Originality, ingenuity, and adaptability are examples of creativity.
  • Curiosity is defined as an interest in new things, exploration, and openness.
  • Critical thinking, deliberation, and open-mindedness are all examples of judgment.
  • The desire to learn new skills and topics, as well as to add to one's knowledge, is referred to as a love of learning.
  • Perspective entails wisdom, sound advice, and seeing the big picture.
  • Bravery is defined as valour, not cowering in the face of fear, and standing up for what is right.
  • Perseverance entails perseverance, hard work, and finishing what we've begun.
  • Sincerity entails authenticity and integrity.
  • Zest is vitality, enthusiasm, vigour, energy, and a sense of being alive
  • Love entails both loving and being loved, as well as valuing close relationships with others.
  • Generosity, nurturance, care and compassion, altruism, and 'niceness' are all examples of kindness.
  • Social intelligence entails being aware of one's own and others' motives/feelings, as well as understanding what makes others tick.
  • Citizenship, social responsibility, and loyalty are all aspects of teamwork.
  • Fairness entails being just and not allowing one's emotions to influence one's decisions about others.
  • Leadership entails organizing group activities and motivating a group to complete tasks.
  • Mercy, accepting others' flaws, and giving people a second chance are all examples of forgiveness.
  • Humility entails being modest and allowing our accomplishments to speak for themselves.
  • Prudence means being careful, cautious, and not taking unnecessary risks.
  • Self-regulation entails exercising self-control, being disciplined, and controlling one's impulses and emotions.
  • Awe, wonder, and elevation are all expressions of appreciation for beauty and excellence.
  • Gratitude is defined as being thankful for the good, expressing gratitude, and feeling blessed.
  • Hope entails optimism, foresight, and a focus on the future.
  • Humour is defined as playfulness, bringing smiles to others, and being light-hearted.
  • Religiousness, faith, purpose, and meaning are all examples of spirituality.

When making a pause, refocus, and gain clarity on what is important in that moment, you can call on these strengths. The Mindful Pause exercise can be extremely beneficial during the transitional period between work and the beginning of home-time. For example, if Love appears after a brief pause, you will immediately bring your full presence to your family in a warm and interactive manner. When Gratitude appears, it can remind you to be aware of how much  you have to be thankful for in that moment, to feel blessed, and to feel compelled to share those blessings with everyone around you. When your strength Kindness comes up after a pause, it will remind you to be patient with those around you, to intentionally listen to and support them, and to take care of yourself when you are alone. When dealing with your children's frustrating behaviors, you can use the Mindful Pause to your advantage. You can practice perspective and realize that they still love you despite their behavior if you pause and allow Self-regulation and Perspective to emerge. Self-regulation can also prevent you from saying something you may regret later.

Other mindfulness exercises:

Candle meditation is ideal for when  you need some peace and quiet and all you need is a peaceful, darkened room and a candle. Sit in a comfortable position and concentrate on the flame, not on the chemical reactions that occur as the candle burns, but on the candle itself.

Eating meditation entails taking a minute to savor your food rather than simply eating it quickly. Examine the food, smell it, feel the textures as you chew it, and take note of how it tastes.

It makes a huge difference, and it doesn't have to be used throughout the meal, just occasionally.

Take a mindful break. Instead of checking emails, take some time during your break to notice the sensations in your body and mind, listen to the sounds you can hear, feel your heart beating, and be present in your body for a few moments, letting go of everything you are thinking about.

Take a mindful shower. Instead of simply showering, pay attention to how hot the water feels, how the shampoo smells, how it lathers on your hair, and how the different parts of a mindful shower interact with one another.

Be mindful of how it feels as the warm water washes over you, and be mindful of the shower gel, soap, or shampoo.

This exercise can be extended to other habits (like brushing your teeth) and fully immerse yourself in the process.

Mindful walking entails taking at least 15 minutes each day to walk in a quiet, peaceful environment, listening to all the sounds around you and focusing on the present moment as much as possible, without allowing other thoughts to distract you. Instead, concentrate on the rhythm of your breath and the thud of your feet on the ground. Listen to the birds chirping, the trees rustling, and the leaves crackling under your feet when you walk in the woods. When  you are having difficulty concentrating, it is easier to focus on these simple sounds first. The mind is prone to wandering and, when it does, gently bring yourself back to the present moment.

These mindfulness meditation exercises are all extremely simple to practice and incorporate into your daily routines, and they can help you cope better with the difficult thoughts and feelings that cause you stress and anxiety in your life. They can assist you in developing the ability to ground your mind in the present moment and deal with all of life's challenges in a clear-headed, calm, and assertive manner, allowing you to be fully present. Why not give them a shot?

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