Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Try Today

When was the last time, you did absolutely nothing, for at least ten minutes?

It’s not easy to keep your mind still, is it? Especially today, when we’re used to processing so much information, all at once.

Here’s the thing; you look after your body- by eating healthy and exercising; you look after your appearance and hygiene- by showering, styling your hair, picking your outfits; you look after your car- by changing your oil, getting it cleaned.

How often do you look after your mind?

Whether you realize it or not, your mind is your most precious resource. It’s where your ideas, feelings, and creativity come to life. That’s why you need to pamper it, keep it warm, keep it happy.

When anxiety hits…

I’m pretty sure just like me, you all know the feeling of having that little voice in your head that just keeps running and running AND running. Picture this: you get up in the morning, and as you’re brushing your teeth you’re already thinking of the next thing you need to get done. Getting your kids ready for school, making breakfast or going for a quick walk with your dog. You look at the time and start feeling anxious. Okay, I have 30 minutes, 20 minutes, 10 minutes to go. You get in your car/bus/train and you’re already thinking about all the work waiting for you at the office. You get to the office, and you’re thinking “okay these are the emails I have to answer“, “I have to call this person back“, “I need to get this filed“, “this needs to be completed ASAP“. As you leave work, you’re thinking “okay what’s next? Dinner, kids, laundry, dog, workout, snacks, gotta check my email, too”. 

When you finally get to bed, you suddenly remember about something you forgot to do at work, and the anxiety keeps you up all night. Truth is, most of the time, you’re thinking about doing or needing to do something different, from what you’re doing right now, at this moment.

You’re getting yourself worked up and anxious by thinking… about the thing you’re feeling anxious about.

I mean, this is crazy-talk, hello?

Yet we all do it (well, most of us, anyway). All the time. Practicing mindfulness can help you deal with that anxiety. It can bring more awareness of what’s around you and help you notice just how much you’ve been missing out on.

The only way to learn mindfulness is to practice it. Mindfulness is the energy of awareness. Awareness of what’s around you. Sort of like observing yourself, without judgment or criticism. As you practice mindfulness, you start to notice how much you’ve been missing out on. You will also realize that you aren’t as aware as you thought you were.

SIMPLE MINDFULNESS EXERCISES TO TRY TODAY

Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Try Today

FIRST THING IN THE MORNING

As you take your morning shower, don’t let your mind race. When you’re getting ready for the day, focus on what you’re doing at this given moment. Feel the warm water on your skin. Smell the soap, feel the silky foam and notice how good it feels against your skin. As the hot water hits your muscles- relax them and release that tension. Brush your teeth slowly. Focus on all your senses. It won’t be easy at first because your mind is used to rushing all the time. As you practice this every day though, you’ll slowly start noticing yourself feeling calmer- and that, is a superpower. Is there a better way to start the day?

GRATITUDE

Someone once said: miracles happen every day- change your perspective and you’ll see them all around you“. Practicing gratitude can not only help you become more mindful it can completely change your perspective and outlook on life. You’ll start noticing those small miracles all around you. How does this tie in with mindfulness? When you take time to consider what you’re grateful for, you’re mindful and actively searching for those things. You can look around the room you’re sitting in right now- what or who do you notice that you feel grateful for? Every morning, take a few minutes to write down 5 things you feel grateful for. Don’t just write them though; try to really feel that gratitude with all your heart. Do this for a week, two, three, until it becomes a daily habit.

At the same time, as you start practicing and exercising mindfulness, you’ll experience increased feelings of gratitude. You’ll notice that when your mind is constantly racing, it often blocks you from seeing and appreciating all that is good in your life.

TURN IT OFF

The anxious mind loves the distraction. The main reason for this is to escape the “suffering.” Turn off your TV, phone, put your laptop away and spend five minutes in complete stillness and silence. At first, this can feel very uncomfortable. Um.. okay, this is weird. It’s too quiet. I don’t like it. And then your mind might start to wander. Eventually, you might end up thinking about something you’ve been dreading, something that’s been bothering or annoying you for a while. Let that thought be. Recognize it as just that- a thought. It’s sort of like removing yourself from your mind and observing your thoughts without judgment. Then, allow that thought to pass.

As you practice taking that 3rd person perspective, you will be able to recognize those anxious thoughts and emotions, without the need to react or suffer from them. You’ll learn to detach yourself from those situations or emotions, therefore, they won’t have that control over you. You’ll be able to move on, and will no longer identify with that pain.


EAT MINDFULLY

This is something that I personally still struggle with, at times, but keep getting better at it, with more practice. For a very long time, I had an unhealthy relationship with food. It wasn’t that I was eating bad food. Instead, I’d either not eat anything at all for long periods of time, or I’d just eat mindlessly. I wouldn’t stop after feeling full- I’d just keep eating. You know when you’re eating a meal that’s so good, you don’t want to stop eating even though your stomach already hurts? Yeah, that’s the kind of mindless eating I’m talking about (and if you don’t know what I’m talking, about bless you! you’re a much better person than I am :) ) I was always a healthy eater, so I thought well, what I’m eating IS super healthy, so I can totally finish this entire plate. I never paid attention when I ate. I could spend 3 hours cooking a fabulous meal, only to inhale it 3 minutes, in front of the TV, while answering emails.

When I slowly made (or, I’m still making, since this is a process for me) this change, a few things happened. One, I only eat when I’m hungry- not when I’m bored or because it’s the weekend, or because I’m watching a movie and need something to keep my hands busy. Two, I actually enjoy my food. I can make out different flavors, textures and really appreciate them. Three, I no longer overeat when I do go out to dinner with friends or family. Just like with the gratitude practice, this goes hand-in-hand with mindfulness. Because I take time to enjoy my meal, I try not to eat while also scrolling through Instagram or answering my emails. So, the more I practice mindful eating, the more I learn to practice being mindful, being present. Enjoying the moment.


DON’T MAKE IT OUT TO BE A CHORE

That’s life: starting over, one breath at a time.” – Sharon Salzberg
Now that you’re ready to start using these exercises to practice mindfulness you have to keep this in mind: you can’t make it out to be a chore. Don’t be too focused on the outcome. The main goal here is to improve your life, reduce your suffering and ease your anxious mind. This comes with practice. We aren’t really fully conscious as we go about our day. Once you begin to practice that awareness, it might feel slightly uncomfortable- that’s because you’re used to being distracted all the time.

Eventually, as you practice mindfulness, every day, you will see that you no longer have to suffer from that worry, overwhelm or anxiety. When negative things happen throughout your day- like someone being rude to you, you’ll be able to feel yourself get angry, but being aware will give you some room to have a different reaction to those situations. You will be able to choose to be a different person. You won’t judge, and you will let it pass.

Are you making mindfulness a part of your daily routine? Are there any mindfulness exercises you practice every day?


This content includes referral links and/or PR samples/gifted products. Read my disclosure policy for more info. A version of this post was previously published in September of 2016.

Wellness, mindfulness, mindful exercises, how to be mindful, how to stay mindful, be mindful, anxiety, mindful eating, anxious mind, how to be calm, daily habits
  • This was such a helpful post, I find switching everything off, especially not looking at my phone helps me x

    Zoe Mountford x

  • charlotte samantha

    I love this post, its going to help me so much when that little voice just wont shut up!!

    CharlotteSamantha

  • Grace Campbell

    Really great and helpful post! Thanks for sharing!!

    Grace x
    http://graciebellblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Like minds! I just spoke about the need to eat mindfully in my recent blog post. I think it’s so necessary and i need to stop wolfing down my meals. I use to love switching off my phone, to just be quiet. Need to get into that again

    KacheeTee.com
    5 Useful Habits to Adopt this Month (and Always!)

  • Although I do love treating myself to unhealthy snacks (can’t go wrong with some chocolate or a pizza) I’ll admit that I feel so much better after eating a healthy meal. I also find going to the gym really helps after a rough day at work (even if it’s the last thing I feel like at the time). x

    Small&Blonde

    • I love treating myself once in a while too. That’s not really what I mean by mindful eating though :) It doesn’t mean that you should eat healthy or not treat yourself. It’s about enjoying your meal, eating slowly and doing so at the table, not in front of the TV, etc. :)

  • Tiffany Tales

    Great tips! Will definitely be trying these out. x

    Tiffany Tales | Lifestyle & Beauty

  • Merima Kopić

    Stunning tips, keep going with posts like this.
    Follow each other? Write on my blog.
    https://glaringwaves.blogspot.ba/

  • These are simple exercises that can be difficult to achieve at the beginning as we’re so used not to do it! Sometimes I do experience of “I need to stop for a minute” so I just sit, stay away from technology and close my eyes for a few minutes allowing my brain not to think for a little while. It does wonders :) x

    abittersweetdiary.blogspot.pt

    • I’m “connected” pretty much all the time, so when I put the technology away, I feel SO good, but a little strange at the same time. I kind of miss those days when I didn’t feel the need to have my phone with me at all times.

  • Elizabeth Hisle

    Haha, I can totally relate to the mindless eating. I feel like it’s harder for me to be mindful when I am eating alone too… I mean, it should be easier because you have the ability to focus, but instead I want to watch TV to compensate for being alone. I need to kick that habit for sure.

    waltzandwillow.com

    • Haha it’s the worst, isn’t it? I totally agree that it’s much easier to manage if you have someone with you. When you’re alone, it’s like “hey, no one’s here to judge me” hahaha! :)

  • I went through a spell when I was really taking the time everyday to work on this, but I stopped since I got off schedule. I forgot how good it felt! As I was reading this article and you were talking about the different aspect of pushing thoughts out and making room for positivity and gratitude, the feeling started to come back. And it felt good! I’m getting myself back on the mindfulness wagon for sure!

    • It feels so good, doesn’t it? Life does get in the way though. I feel like it has a lot to do with work. I love staying busy, working, and sometimes find it difficult to stop, slow down and relax, but at the same time, I do realize how important it is!

  • It’s so difficult to stop your mind from over thinking and eating you up sometimes! But it’s so essential to our overall health to practice switching off everyday. This was an inspiring post as always with some amazing tips. Thank you lovely for always making me feel a bit calmer just reading your helpful tips x

    Beauty with charm

    • So happy that you liked this post Alina, thank you so much for such a sweet comment! I love turning off my phone. I don’t think I’d be able to survive without having to turn it off once in a while haha ;)

  • Inspiring post as always!

    I can totally relate to these situations, thinking constantly about ‘what’s next’ from the moment I get up, eating while answering emails, checking social media or million other things and then wondering where’s the food gone as most of the time I don’t even pay attention to the whole eating process, lol!

    Definitely need to change that! x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

    • Thank you so much D!

      It’s so hard sometimes to stop doing several different things at once! Especially now since we keep expecting more and more from ourselves. It’s so important to know how to slow down once in a while!

  • So inspiring. I’ve been trying to be more mindful lately. Taking it one day at a time and all the little things will soon get me there.

    Natasha | The Night is Wild

  • Sometimes I wish I could just turn off my brain. Stop thinking for a while. But since I can’t I guess the next best thing is to turn everything else off :-)

  • A really inspiring post Paula – it’s so important to practice gratitude and eat well, they both really help focus my outlook on things :)
    – Ambar x
    http://www.herlittleloves.co.uk

    • Practicing gratitude changed my life. I know it can sound cheesy or ridiculous to some, but it’s life-changing. x

  • Deirdre

    I love what you were saying about paying attention to what you’re eating.

  • These are great tips! I especially need to remember to be more mindful about eating when I’m anxious. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kate

    I definitely need to learn to be more mindful. I am constantly stressing about all the things I have to do next, which actually results in me being less productive than when I actually do manage to take a breath and do one thing at a time! x

    Kate Louise Blogs

    • Stress can seriously overwhelm you so much at times, especially when all you do is think about the things you need to get done next. x

  • I really need to learn to eat mindfully instead of quickly inhaling a Pret Mac N Cheese before I start my next task! Great post, thank you.