Mindfulness exercises are an effective way to reduce stress, anxiety and mild depression. These simple activities can help you slow down and focus on the present moment.
Here are some mindfulness exercises you can do in under five minutes:
- Breathe deeply. Take a few deep breaths and notice how it feels to breathe in and out. Pay attention to each breath as it passes through your nostrils or mouth. If your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath until you’ve completed one full breath cycle
- Close your eyes. Close your eyes and focus on what you hear around you. Listen for sounds that may be foreign to you — birds chirping, leaves rustling — or familiar ones — cars passing by, dogs barking — and try not to categorize or judge them based on your past experience or expectations but rather listen for their unique qualities at this moment.
- Be mindful of your body movements. When we’re anxious or stressed out our bodies tend to tense up and tighten up as well. Take a couple of minutes right now to notice how your body feels right now — whether it’s heavy or light, warm or cold.
- Take a walk outside, noticing everything around you as you pass through each area of your local park or garden. Pay attention to the smells, sounds, and sights around you — what do they remind you of? How does it feel to move along an uneven path? How does it feel when someone passes by? What do they notice about their surroundings that you might not have noticed before?
- Focus on an object in front of you — it could be a candle flame or a flower — and hold it in your mind for at least one minute without thinking about anything else.