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5 Mindfulness Exercises to Calm Your Mind

During stressful times, our minds tend to take flight and we lose touch with our body. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed with an obsessive and negative spiral of thoughts about the past, present, and future. Practicing mindfulness is one way to calm your mind during these stressful moments.

Mindfulness occurs when  your mind is fully attending to the present moment; what’s happening, what you’re doing, the space you’re moving through. Mindfulness can be helpful in terms of providing time  to quiet your thoughts and approaching your present experience with openness, warmth, and kindness.

Mindfulness exercises are simple and user-friendly. You can even do them in the comfort of your own home!

 

 

Here are 5 mindfulness exercises to calm you mind:

Mindful Breathing

This exercise can be done standing up or sitting down, and pretty much anywhere, at any time. All you have to do is be still and focus on your breath for just one minute.

  1. Start by breathing in and out slowly (each breath cycle should last for approximately 6 seconds).
  2. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting your breath flow effortlessly in and out of your body.
  3. Let go of your thoughts. Let go of your thoughts about the future or pending projects that need to be done. Simply let thoughts rise and fall of their own accord and be at one with your breath.
  4. Purposefully be aware of your breath as it enters your body and fills you with life.
  5. Then watch as your breath works its way up and out of your mouth.

Bell Exercise

This exercise deals with mindful listening. This can be done by listening to the five minute bell exercise video. You begin by closing your eyes and listening for the cue. When you hear it, focus your attention on the sound until it fades completely. This exercise helps you to keep yourself firmly grounded in the present.

You can use the audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGFog-OuFDM

Five Senses

This exercise can be practiced quickly in nearly any situation! All you have to do is bring your attention to each of your five senses.

  1. First, notice 5 things you see. Explore your surroundings and bring your attention to five things that you can see. Try to pick something that you do not normally notice.
  2. Notice 4 things that you can feel. Bring awareness to four things that you are currently feeling For instance, how your legs feel on the chair, the feeling of the breeze on your skin, or your hands resting on your legs.
  3. Next, notice 3 things you can hear.Take a second to listen what you hear in the background. Note three noises you hear. This can be the hum of the refrigerator, or the faint sounds of traffic from a nearby road.
  4. Notice 2 things you can smell. Bring your awareness to smells that you usually filter out. Maybe the smell a candle indoors, or the pine trees if you’re outside.
  5. Lastly, notice 1 thing you can taste. Focus on one thing that you can taste right now, in this moment. You can simulate this with drinking or eating something, or you can simply notice the current taste in your mouth.Then watch as your breath works its way up and out of your mouth.

This quick and easy exercise is great for grounding yourself and can bring you to a mindful state. If you are short on time and/or tools, the five senses exercise can help you or your clients bring awareness to the current moment in a short amount of time.

Body Scan

This exercise is a bit longer than the ones above and requires more preparation. It aims to connect your body and your mind. It can help you:

  1. Become more familiar with body and its sensations and reactions.
  2. Learn effective ways to work with body discomfort, stress, and pain.
  3. Cultivate your powers of concentration.

Here is a written script of the exercise: http://www.stillmind.com.au/Documents/Body%20Scan%20Meditation%20orig.pdf

You can also use the YouTube video of a guided body scan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7xGF8F28zo

Comfort Basket

This exercise also plays on your 5 senses. All you have to do is find a basket – you can even use a box, just something that things can be stored in. In this basket, find objects that bring you comfort and connect them to your 5 senses. Some examples are:

  1. Sight – this item can be a book, a picture, or a movie to watch.
  2. Sound – you can include music, listening to the sound of waves, this could also be a movie.
  3. Smell – this can be a small bottle of lavender, a candle, even the smell of fresh air outside.
  4. Touch – some people use a rock, necklace, sand, fluffy pillow/blanket/toy.
  5. Taste – a candy bar, drink of water, your favorite food can be used.

Once you have all your items in your basket, keep it somewhere accessible to you. When you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed and/or in need of comforting; turn to the items in your basket to soothe yourself.

Shamira Drice, Registered Psychotherapist (RP), Ezcape Spa & Wellness, November 2018

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