Struggle With Mindfulness? Try These 5 Easy Mindfulness Exercises
Wellness practices such as mindfulness are intended to help keep us grounded, stress-free, and feeling our best. But, let’s be honest, sometimes (read: most of the time) they can be a real struggle to implement. Maybe you’re trying to get your mindfulness meditation on, but you can’t seem to stop going over your to-do list in your head. Or, perhaps you’ve got so much on your plate that the idea of pausing for even a moment doesn’t feel doable.
Whatever the case may be, don’t rule out mindfulness as a wellness ritual. The solution? Start small with easy-to-implement mindfulness exercises. Mindfulness is a practice. The more you do it — even for brief moments at a time — the more you strengthen your skill and the easier it becomes.
What is Mindfulness?
First things first: What is mindfulness, really? In short, mindfulness is awareness. It’s about being fully engaged in the present moment. You’re aware and mindful of how you’re feeling, what is happening, the thoughts that are flowing through your mind — everything, and you do it all without judgment as a gentle observer. Beyond just a practice or ritual, mindfulness is a way of being and living. And the benefits are totally worth the effort. Research has shown that mindfulness helps reduce stress, decrease anxiety, lower blood pressure, and increase wellbeing.
5 Mindfulness Exercises To Try If You Struggle With Mindfulness
1. Do a mini-mindfulness meditation
If sitting down with your legs crossed for 20+ minutes every day is not your vibe or you don’t have time for a full-on heart-opening yoga flow, that’s perfectly fine. You can still reap the benefits by practicing mini mindfulness meditations whenever you need a quick reset during the day. Find a quiet place and get comfortable. Close your eyes. Take a few deep belly breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Allow yourself to be still and quiet for a minute or two. Thoughts will inevitably pop up in your mind, and that’s okay. Just observe them and watch them float away.
2. Practice gratitude journaling
Gratitude journaling is a very powerful mindfulness exercise and an instant mood booster. Noticing what you’re grateful for in your life shifts your focus on all the good that’s already in your life. Pro tip: Allow yourself to marinate in those juicy feelings of gratitude as you write. Let the emotion wash all over your body. And don’t just feel grateful for the big things like your family, health, and job. Express gratitude for the small, simple things, too, like the sunlight pouring into your home or the wind blowing in your face while you’re driving.
3. Set an intention in the morning
Setting an intention is like deciding and declaring what you want ahead of time. Doing this mindfulness exercise first thing in the morning is a great way to set the tone for the day. Before you jump out of bed and get your day started, set an intention for how you’d like your day to go, how you want to feel, or what you intend to do. For example, your intention can be to have an effortless and joy-filled day, feel empowered and confident, or do something to take care of your mind, body, and soul.
4. Activate your senses
Practicing mindfulness can be as simple as just activating your senses. Notice what you see around you in your environment. Pay attention to what sounds are present. Tune into what emotion you’re experiencing. Reach out and touch something in front of you. Take a sip of your favorite beverage (perhaps some Better Booch?) and savor its taste. You can even take it a step further and tap into your sixth sense, also known as your intuition, and feel into what messages your inner wisdom is sending you. Not only does this simple mindfulness exercise ground you into the present moment, but it also allows you to appreciate the moment and experience it fully.
5. Do self check-ins throughout the day
Life gets busy. We get it. Sometimes a day can flash by in a blur. One minute you’re brushing your teeth in the morning, and then the next you’re putting your pajamas on and getting ready for bed feeling exhausted. To help you slow things down and be more present during the day, schedule self check-ins. Set reminders on your phone so you don’t forget. When the alarm goes off, hit pause on whatever you’re doing and take a moment to check in with your body. Close your eyes. Put your hand over your heart. Ask yourself: How am I feeling at this moment? What do I most need right now? Then give yourself whatever you need.
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be a big, daunting ritual. It really can be simple, short, and sweet — a moment-to-moment practice that enhances your life and wellbeing. Like with most wellness practices, mindfulness is not a one-size-fits-all. Try these mindfulness exercises and see which ones most resonate with you and feel the best. Your future stress-free, blissed-out self will thank you.