We’ve become very good at “being busy” and fitting as much into our day as possible – we’re constantly on the go! Sometimes, taking a “time-out” is exactly what we need.
One way to do this is to spend a few minutes being mindful. Being present and simply observing your surroundings, thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations –without judgment– is a great way to decompress, increase positive emotions and reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
Preparation Find a quiet place free from interruptions. Plan to spend around five minutes on this exercise. Don’t worry if your thoughts wander; it’s normal and to be expected! If this happens, simply return your attention to the present moment without judging or giving yourself a hard time. With continued practice, you’ll find it becomes easier to stay present.
Do the exercise:
Step 1: Stand up, plant your feet firmly on the ground. Lower your gaze or close your eyes and breathe deeply.
Step 2: Continue to take deep breaths and scan your body. Notice any physical sensations, thoughts and feelings.
Step 3: As you breathe in, let the positive ones fill you. As you breathe out, let the negative ones go.
Step 4: Open your eyes and take in your surroundings. Notice something that is pleasant and let yourself enjoy it!
Hints and tips Try practising this exercise three times a week to start out. You can work your way up to practising it daily. The more you practise, the easier it becomes and the stronger the benefits!
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