Mindfulness: Six Simple Mindfulness Activities to Try Today
My mindfulness journey started about six years ago. Having suffered from anxiety and low moods in the past, especially while in school, I have done my fair share of mindfulness activities. Some stuck, and some didn't so it's good to try a few to see what sticks with you!
Here are a few of my favourites. These activities can be done in as little as 1 minute or spread out to last over an hour. Remember, mindfulness is a practice - try to incorporate it into each day.
This is one of the simplest mindfulness exercises. It includes taking deep breathes in time with a circle. The visual makes it really easy to follow along and is quite soothing. This exercise can be used in a variety of ways, including to break up a busy day, if worry starts to creep into your thoughts, or right before bed. My go to is the breathe bubble on the Calm App, you can also find it youtube.
The Body Scan:
This activity is exactly as it sounds. Throughout the exercise you go over each part of your body, from head to toe, noting any sensations or feelings. I often notice a disconnect with mind and body in my patients, and this exercise will help develop this awareness, as well as help relieve any tension present. If any thoughts come up, just note them and continue to the next area of the body. Depending on how much time you have, you can go into as much or little detail as you want. Remember, if you do this before bed and you fall asleep, that’s ok too! Start with this simple 3 minute body scan.
This is one of my favourites! Many apps such as Calm and Headspace have walking meditations you can try. It can be done in a hallway at work, the block around your house, or out in nature. And I love that it gets you moving. As you are walking, note the different sensations with each step. How does the ground feel against your feet, how do your legs respond to each step, how does the breath feel against your nostrils. If your mind starts to drift to different thoughts, note them, and return back to your step or breathe.
Download An App Blocker:
These simple apps for your phone can help to limit unnecessary screen time and mindless scrolling. I just downloaded my first one today, so I will let you know how it goes!
Chew Your Food Slowly:
Mindful eating can switch us into the parasympathetic nervous system, aka rest and digestion. Not only can this practice help us get the benefits of mindfulness, but can also help us with better digestion! Check our Dr. Heathers article here for more info!
Journal, Journal, Journal!
There is no right or wrong way to do this, so get creative with a pen to paper for at least 3 minutes per day. Write about how your day went, what emotions you felt, or just doodle some pictures.
I teach all my patients different techniques to incorporate mindfulness into their day. No matter what your health concern is, from hormonal imbalance to sleep issues to gas and bloating, I'm positive mindfulness can be an important player in your road to optimal health. If you have any questions if mindfulness could help you, or you want to share your favourite activities with me, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or through facebook and instagram @doctormargotnd
Disclaimer: Any information is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in place of professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care practitioner with any questions or health concerns you may have.