This article has been contributed by our partner Relationships Australia WA.
If you're looking for a quick and easy way to add a little mindfulness meditation to your day without formal practice, then these mindfulness exercises are for you. They can mostly be slotted in while you go about your everyday business, without the need for a sit-down meditation session.
1. Walking mindfulness
If you can fit in at least ten minutes of undisturbed walking during the day, why not try a little walking mindfulness meditation? If you can find a walking route with few distractions, it might work better for you. This is about focusing your attention. You can start out by concentrating on the sensation of your feet touching the ground or on your breath. The goal is to develop a relaxed attention. When your mind wanders away, bring it back gently without judging yourself.
2. Eating mindfulness
You can practice mindfulness while you eat. When taking the first bite of any meal, take a moment to really focus on the taste. Look at the food, pay attention to its texture and smell. You don't need to keep this up all the way through the meal but use it every now and again to focus your attention.
3. Mindful mini-break
Checking our email has become something we do between other tasks, as a kind of break. Let's change this. Instead, take a break between tasks and practice one of these mindfulness exercises. Turn away from your computer, tablet or smartphone and sit for a moment noticing the sensations in your mind and body. How do you feel? What can you hear? try to be present in the moment.
4. Listen mindfully
We get used to a lot of the sounds around us and quickly tune them out. If you live in the city, it might be the sounds of sirens and train announcements. In the countryside, it might be trees rustling and birds calling. What can you hear right now? Or put on some music and really listen to it - try to hear the music without thinking about it. Without judgement or thinking about the lyrics too much.
5. Mindful brushing
Some things we do so often we almost don't notice them anymore. For example, brushing your teeth. We usually perform this automatically while our mind wanders to other plans, worries or regrets. Instead, try to focus on the chore and really experience it. Notice how the brush moves over your teeth and the taste of toothpaste. This technique can also be used when showering. Let your senses feed on the process and bring your mind back when it wanders off to other worries or thoughts.
6. Just one breath
At any time during the day, take a moment of focus for just one breath. Breathe in, then breathe out. Focus your attention on how this feels, where you notice the air moving, how your chest and abdomen move.
7. Candle meditation
This exercise requires a little preparation: you will need a candle and a darkened room. Sit for a while watching the candle and focusing on the flame. You are just noticing the candle in a simple, pure way.
8. Experience nature
If your walking mindfulness exercises should happen to take you to a park or green space of some kind, then this is the perfect opportunity for a little more mindfulness meditation. As you stand, sit or walk, try to become aware of the nature around you. See the different types of leaves, hear the birds calling and the sun on your face. Try to keep your attention focused in the present moment.
9. Five senses mindfulness exercises
Focus on one of the senses, such as hearing for five minutes. Listen to five things that you have never paid attention to before. Simultaneously, practice deep breathing. Next time, focus on a different sense and do the same exercise.
10. Body scan
Mentally scan your body from head to toe. Pay attention to each part of the body, noticing any sensations that are present there. Try exhaling through the nose while performing this exercise. This can take you five minutes to half an hour. It just depends on how much time you want to dedicate to it.
Hopefully this will give you some ideas about how to practice mindfulness exercises during your day. Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. Don't feel limited by these mindfulness exercises. Feel free to mix and match or fit them into your life any way you can. Almost any activity can incorporate some mindfulness exercises.
Relationships Australia provides professional relationship support services throughout Australia. it is a not-for-profit, non-aligned, community-based organisation with partial funding from the Federal, State and Local Governments. Relationships Australia operates Australia-wide.
Keystart is proud to be working with Relationships Australia WA on tailored customer and staff assistance programs.