3 Easy Mindfulness Exercises You Can Do Every Day: Mental Health Month Series
3 Easy Mindfulness Exercises You Can Do Every Day: Mental Health Month Series
You wouldn’t be wrong to think that mindfulness is a hot topic at the moment — and it’s for good reason! As mentioned in our last blog in our Mental Health Month series, your mental health can be positively impacted by regular mindfulness exercises. In that blog, we explained what mindfulness is, why it is important and looked at how meditation techniques are an effective way of improving your overall wellbeing.
Keeping this in mind, we recognise that traditional meditation isn’t necessarily for everyone. Have you ever wondered how to practice other mindfulness exercises? There are plenty of alternative mindfulness techniques that you can incorporate into your daily life easily and without setting aside too much time — and we want to share some of them with you.
3 simple mindfulness exercises for every day
As mentioned in our last blog, the purpose of mindfulness exercises is to teach you how to observe your thoughts. Learning to observe your thoughts then offers the opportunity to learn more about your thinking habits, as well as to change them over time.
If you’ve been wondering how to practice mindfulness throughout the day, here are three simple mindfulness exercises that you can start off with. While there are a number of different mindfulness exercises that you could do, we’ve focused on these ones because they’re really easy to integrate into your regular routine — which means you’re more likely to actually practice them!
1. Mindfulness exercises to live with gratitude
If you want some mindfulness exercises that are simple and easy to integrate into your routine, then this is the perfect activity to try out each day. Expressing gratitude is a mindfulness technique that can be done at the start or end of every day and only requires a few moments of your time.
The goal of expressing gratitude is to….express gratitude! Specifically, each day try to choose three things from your day that you are grateful for.
How to express gratitude
- Keep a notebook by your bedside and each morning or night, write down three things that you are grateful for in that moment.
- If you are doing this at the end of the day, reflect on what has happened during your day and think of three things based on that. If you do this in the morning, reflect on the events of the day that has just passed.
- Read each gratitude statement out loud to yourself and as you do really try to focus and feel the emotions connected with the statement. How does having that thing in your life make you feel? Happy? Excited? Loved?
- The things you are grateful for can be as big, or as small, as you like. For example, one gratitude statement might be, “I am so grateful for my good health”. Another day, it could be, “I am so grateful that my hard work has led me to be able to do a push up on my toes”!
- If you don’t want to write down your gratitude statements because you feel like you’re short on time, try saying them out loud to yourself in the shower each day.
It can be really beneficial to try and express gratitude regularly for all the positive things in your life. Through mindfulness exercises such as this, you can make a big difference to your mindset and your life.
Sometimes the things you’re grateful for will feel plentiful, other times not so much. The key to this is to remember that there is always at least one thing to be grateful for and to commit to reflecting on this every day.
2. Mindfulness exercises for a positive mindset
Mindfulness exercises have the power to transform your mindset and performing affirmations are a really easy technique to begin with.
Affirmations are similar to expressing gratitude in that their purpose is to help you change your mindset into a more positive one. However, the difference with affirmations is that they are a positive statement that can be about the present, or something that you desire in your future. It involves making a positive statement about who you are or what you want to achieve, rather than you expressing gratitude about something that currently exists.
While it might feel a bit strange to try this out initially, if you regularly state affirmations to yourself in those moments when you’re starting to have doubt or not feeling confident within yourself, you might quickly realise how empowering and useful it can be.
How to make affirmations
You can recite affirmations whenever you like; however, if you begin by making a few positive affirmations each day, that’s a great start. Some people like to have them written up somewhere they can see them and be reminded of them, like on their fridge at home, or even have them written in removable ink on a mirror.
When you make affirmations, be sure to use the present tense (make it an “I am” statement) and then make a statement out loud about something that you feel could be more positive in your life, or that you are working towards.
For example, perhaps you are working towards eating healthier:
- Phrase your affirmation as a present, personal situation (e.g. “I am...”).
- Make sure it is said as a positive statement (avoid passive words like “I am trying” or negative statements like “I am unhealthy”) and say it with certainty, as though you are achieving it right now.
- If you like, add an action statement on the end that affirms that you are achieving this right now.
In this instance, your affirmation could be, “I am the healthiest I’ve ever been and every day I take action steps toward this”.
Then, whenever your inner critic begins to speak up throughout the day, repeat the affirmation to yourself either out loud or in your mind. You’ll be surprised how big an impact simple mindfulness exercises such as this can have on your mindset in the long term!
How can these mindfulness exercises enhance my wellbeing?
Now that you know what mindfulness exercises you can do, you’re probably wondering why you should do them in the first place! The science behind these mindfulness exercises is to reprogram the subconscious mind to look for positives in life, big and small, as well as to help change any negative thinking patterns that exist. The belief is that as you actively try to recognise good in your life, as well as regularly make positive statements about yourself and your life, you will eventually learn to believe them — and will, in turn, behave in more positive ways.
It has been argued that our brains find it more difficult to focus on the positives in life compared to the negatives and that once we see something in a negative light, it takes more effort to change our minds. That’s why affirmations and expressions of gratitude are important mindfulness exercises to practice throughout the day, as over time they can help you to retrain your mind to see the positives more often, let go of the negatives, and have a more positive mindset overall.
3. Mindfulness exercises for anxiety
This mindfulness technique requires you to immerse yourself in an activity and pay close attention to what you are doing for the entirety of the time that you’re doing it. There are many options that you can choose from for this strategy — we’ve suggested mindfulness exercises that can be integrated into your daily routine, rather than having to set aside extra time to do it.
Ultimately, the goal of mindfulness exercises such as this one is to bring you into awareness of the present moment, so try out a few of these and see which one best suits you and your lifestyle.
Sensory mindfulness techniques:
- Consider your senses (touch, taste, sound, smell, sight).
- Focusing on one sense at a time, find something within your surroundings that impact that particular sense.
- For example, focus on sound. What can you hear? You might hear a nearby playground with children laughing. Try to let go of whether you feel like this is a positive or negative sound and focus on the minor details. How many voices can you hear? What tones can you hear? Focus completely on this sound for a minimum of around 30 seconds.
- One by one, explore your other senses in the same way that you did sound. Focus on each sensory detail in as much depth as possible.
Once you know how to practice sensory mindfulness exercises, you can do them anywhere or anytime you feel you need to! One of the great things about this activity is that you don’t need to be sitting down in a quiet space to do it. It can be a really useful tool if you are feeling anxious, to help bring your mind back when you are feeling overwhelmed.
If you are doing this to help calm you down during an anxious episode, it’s likely that you might feel too overwhelmed to really hone in on and focus on specific sensory details. Instead, simply try to notice two things around you from each category. For example, what two sounds can you hear (for example, dogs barking next door and children playing at the park)? Then, leave it at that and move on to the other senses. By forcing your mind to think about something other than how you currently feel, you can help calm yourself down in an anxious moment.
Similar mindfulness exercises to this one include:
- Going for a run or walk outside.
- Mindful colouring/scrapbooking.
- Cleaning the house.
- Playing with your pet outside.
- Rearranging a space in your office.
Start these mindfulness exercises now
It’s not difficult to reorganise your routine and incorporate mindfulness exercises into your daily life. By regularly trying to include mindfulness techniques such as these into your day, you will slowly develop your moment-by-moment awareness, which will eventually help you to better control your thoughts and lead to improved wellbeing.
We’d love to hear about your favourite mindfulness exercises — whether they’re included in this article or not! Let us know in the comments below what you include into your daily routine.
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.