4 Ways to be More Mindful in Less Than a Minute

Are you interested in mindfulness meditation, but not sure if you have the know-how or the time? Mindfulness doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated to be effective. Just about every moment in your day is an opportunity to be mindful, and research shows the benefits are huge.

Originally an ancient Buddhist meditation technique, mindfulness has evolved into a range of secular therapies and courses in recent years. Mindfulness most simply means intentionally tuning into your thoughts, emotions, physical surroundings, and bodily sensations. The key to mindfulness is to be present in the moment. The idea is to allow thoughts and sensations to come into your awareness, acknowledge them, and then let them go.

More people than ever are doing some form of this stress-busting meditation, and researchers are discovering it has some quite extraordinary effects on the brains of those who do it regularly.

Here are four simple exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine.

1. Fingers and Toes

As you read this, wiggle your toes. Feel the way they push against your shoes, and the weight of your feet on the floor. Stretch your legs out in front of you and hold that pose for a count of eight as you wiggle your toes. Release the pose with a deep exhale for a count of four. Stretch both arms above your head. Hold that pose for a count of eight as you wiggle your fingers. Release the pose with a deep exhale for a count of four.

2. Mind your Breath

Lower your eyes and notice where you feel your breath. That might be the air going in and out of your nose or the rise and fall of your belly. If you can’t feel anything, place your hand on your stomach and notice how your hand gently rises and falls with your breath. If you like, you can just lengthen the in-breath and the out-breath each time. Focus on your breath. When your mind wanders, as it will do, just bring your attention back to your breath. Doing this even for just one minute will allow you to pause and be in the moment.

3. Yawn and Stretch

Have you ever noticed how a yawn interrupts your thoughts and feelings? This brings you into the present. Fake a yawn if you have to and say “ahh” as you exhale. Then stretch slowly as you count to ten. Notice any tightness you may feel. Stretch one more time for a slow count to 10.

4. Time to STOP

Stand: Feel your connection to the earth.

Tune in to your body: Lower your gaze. Scan your body and notice physical sensations or emotions. Acknowledge your positive emotions and feelings as you Inhale deeply and discard the negatives on the exhale.

Observe:  Lift your eyes and take in your surroundings. Focus on one specific object that is pleasant or brings you joy. Hold that object in your awareness for one minute.

Proceed:  Continue what you were doing.

We’re all susceptible to the avalanche of information, stimuli, and distractions going on around us. Mindfulness is one way to slow down, connect with your inner voice, quiet the noise, and find your way to a happier, healthier you.

Melissa Hughes, Ph.D.
Melissa Hughes, Ph.D.https://www.melissahughes.rocks/
Dr. Melissa Hughes is a neuroscience geek, keynote speaker, and author. Her latest book, Happier Hour with Einstein: Another Round explores fascinating research about how the brain works and how to make it work better for greater happiness, well-being, and success. Having worked with learners from the classroom to the boardroom, she incorporates brain-based research, humor, and practical strategies to illuminate the powerful forces that influence how we think, learn, communicate and collaborate. Through a practical application of neuroscience in our everyday lives, Melissa shares productive ways to harness the skills, innovation and creativity within each of us in order to contribute the intellectual capital that empowers organizations to succeed with social, financial and cultural health.

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  1. Thanks, Melissa.
    Good stuff.

    I suspect that mindfulness is an inherent capacity that only needs a window to emerge. When I focus on energy rather than time, and practice what the great poet John Ciardi called, “the pleasure of taking pains,” Voila!

    be good. and well.
    Mac

  2. Thanks, Melissa.

    One of my favorite books from my high-school-English-teaching-days was John Ciardi’s How Does a Poem Mean? He wrote about “the pleasures of taking pains.”

    I think mindfulness may be an innate capacity of our brains that often needs simply a window to appear. So maybe one of the ways to frame it is to simply engage with all five senses and to focus on energy rather than time in your day.

    Oh, and here’s a link to a new podcast about what may follow the peak of the pandemic:

    https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/aza-podcast/back2different

    be good. and well.
    Mac

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