There are a number of easy mindfulness exercises one can follow within a very short period of time and also make it a regular practice.
However how often have you come across the benefits of mindfulness exercises and have just overlooked them, moved on to another topic of immediate concern? Life has become so busy that we seriously seem to be running all the time – day in and day out – in pursuit of career, fame, money and so on.
In fact we forget that in this pursuit we have forgotten that we are slowly losing our emotional binding with one another – within the family and with others, ending up stressed, anxious and sometimes depressed.
Most of us don’t have five minutes to sit down and relax, let alone 30 minutes or more for a meditation session.
However, having a me time for at least 10 to 30 minutes every day is important for a positive mindset for the children and also give to have a mental balance.
4 Simple Mindfulness Meditation Exercises You Can Follow
People who follow a good mindfulness exercise regime have been observed to be healthier and happier. This is because they take their health seriously and become mindful of their life.
The amazing benefits of practicing meditation and mindfulness are available to everyone who has the time to practice these skills.
You can follow these 5 simple mindfulness exercises to get there one step at a time.
2 Minute Morning Mindfulness Exercise – Mindful Visualization
Every morning while you wake up before opening your eyes plan your day. Visualize your complete day from the time you get up from bed to the time you plan to retire. You need to see yourself doing things and completing them, see yourself ticking off the to do list on your white board or a journal.
See yourself being healthy, your children happily doing their studies or other work whichever you prefer. Visualize your husband going on time to his office in a happy mood and returning home beaming.
If you have any other things on your list see them being finished with a bang. Send love, blessings and protection to your spouse and children, visualize them under a protective cover – may be a full sphere around them in any of your chosen colours – white being my best.
This exercise sends message to your brain to prioritize these jobs first and makes sure to remind you to complete them. It will also send blessing for health and happiness to your family members and keeps your loved ones away from negativity.
2. The Body Scan – A Mindful Meditation Technique To Reduce Stress
No Mindfulness meditation is complete without a body scan. I usually make my students do this after the yoga poses for mindfulness, when they are in their shavasna pose.
The Body scan typically is done with you lying down comfortably on your bed or yoga mat and close your eyes.
Begin concentrating on each part of your body beginning from your toes, slowly moving upwards till your head. Paying special attention to the way each area feels. The scan usually moves systematically through the body, e.g. starting at the feet and moving upwards as follows:
- Toes of both feet
- The rest of the feet (top, bottom, ankle)
- Lower legs
- Pelvic region (buttocks, tailbone, pelvic bone, genitals)
- Lower back
- Upper back (back ribs & shoulder blades)
- Hands (fingers, palms, backs, wrists)
- Arms (lower, elbows, upper)
- Face and head (jaw, mouth, nose, cheeks, ears, eyes, forehead, scalp, back&top of the head)
You can follow the guided body scan given below for you.
3. The Detachment Meditation
In office or work place, you get so very tired and stretched both physically and mentally. During these times try this detachment meditation. This meditation exercise s is worthwhile to remove yourself from the current pressures your are facing and feel comfort.
You will put a distance between you and the problem and look at the problem from above you which will give a 360 degree view of your problem.
To begin the exercise, follow these steps:
- Take a comfortable position, if in office sit back in your seat and relax.
- let your mind and body settle.
- Close your eyes, let go of any thoughts that is worrying you. If you find any emotions coming up, recognize them and create space for them. Then bring your attention back to your observing self—your feelings and thoughts are there, but you are separate from them, noticing them. This is the “Detached You” or your soul.
- Slowly focus you attention on your breathe – take 3 breaths in and exhale slowly.
- feel your self detaching from your body from your body and move above you.
- See your body from above you, observe your body, the skin, the posture, your entire body and how it looks – do you see you body in a happy state, do you see any worries, is there any pain somewhere – observe.
- Visualize caressing your body, blessing it, touching the places where the pain is and see the pain slowly go away from your body.
- It is important to focus on the problematic areas and send power to them – you can visualize your soul passing on a while light towards areas of pain. This way you can feel the pain move out of your body.
- Slowly move back into your body, feel happy, smile and enjoy the moment.
- You can open your eyes when you feel comfortable.
Here is a guided Video for you
This exercise can be continued for as long as desired and there are many stages you can work through that will help you practice being detached from yourself. It is not an easy exercise at first because we are often habitually inclined to react to and over-identify with our feelings.
4. The Light And The Air Mindfulness Technique
This is a technique to quickly energize you and I do this in midst of two session when I see some sleepy faces. Do this before going to sleep and so you will get rid of negativity and fill yourself with positive energy
Also this Mindfulness exercise will make your body cool which is best to relax and give you the best sleep.
Here is how you do it
- Sit /lie down comfortably. Relax completely.
- Slowly begin concentrating on your breathe.
- See how the air travels through your nose and moves through the windpipe and to the lungs.
- Feel the coolness of the air entering your nostrils.
- Observe how it cools your body as it travel within you, envision every cell of your body being filled with love, a cool relaxing love.
- You begin enjoying the feeling, smile slowly and then get ready to exhale.
- Visualize that every cell in your body is tearing off any negativity, anger or hatred that was stored within it and sending through the air that is passing through the windpipe and moving out through the nostrils.
- This air is warm, hot sometimes because it is removing unwanted clutter from within you.
- You can visualize it as a stream of red coloured air getting out of you and see yourselves moving towards becoming a pure soul
- Breathe in again – a green couloured stream of air entering your with all positive bombs to make you cool and positive.
- Repeat this exercise for three to five times
Here is a guided video for you for the same
Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation Exercises and Why You Should Do Them
Now let me tell you why you need to sit down and be aware of what you are doing at that moment?
- Mindfulness meditation gives your brain the time to look within you and check on your bodies health – there by improving your health where required and rejuvenating the body cells.
- When you sit calmly for a few minutes your anxiety reduces and this will naturally improve your performance – both in personal front and work place.
- If you are an artist or a parent your patience level will increase and hence your creativity will be enhanced.
- For a parent the increase in patience will work wonders in the way you deal with your children and that will reflect naturally in your children.
Mindfulness Practice Improves Your Health
“Mindfulness” is the practice of being aware in the present moment, a space of noticing the state of things (internal or external) without judgment. It can be said to be a type of meditation, or a way to integrate meditation in daily life activities.
Your body is a repercussion of how your mind visualizes it to be, in fact you a manifestation of your mind – if you keep your mind healthy your body will naturally reflect it.
Lets see 2 scenarios – Scenario 1. You hit the gym everyday, however you have something troubling your mind (may be with your work or family). Have you noticed that the amount of workout you do does not give you the satisfaction it otherwise does.
Scenario 2 – You hit the gym, with happiness and no thoughts bothering you. That day you feel that your feel content and elated after your work out.
This is a simple example of how your mind controls your body. In fact this is what happens with your sickness and disease free life cycle. A happy person does not fall sick nor does she feel sick with whats going on around.
If you are able to integrate practicing mindfulness exercises in your life you will become successful in any endevour you wish to begin or any goal you want to attain. You would see the every piece fall into place and form a stepping stone for you to step ahead.
Mindfulness Practice Reduces Anxiety
Panic and anxiety seem to have become the norm these days, I was actually surprised to listen to a child telling me how anxious he grows when he faces his parents even in a normal conversation.
Most households these days have forgotten the small talks happening around a dining table or even the fun moments that get embedded within the memories of children forever.
Every person is chasing something – a career, fame, better pay, bigger house, this list seems to be growing forever and ever during the process of which people forget to take that small pause to look around them and cherish small wins or joyous moments with their family.
In fact I have had to tell parents to allot at least one hour of their time to their family. The very concept of family time has come to this juncture where all the members find it difficult to zero up on what to do in that family time. No one knows what one has to share with the others of the family. Or, if shared will it be valued?
Increase Brain Gray Matter
To start with, gray matter is the area which contains a vast majority of the brain’s neuronal cell bodies. It is found in the hippo-campus of the brain and is involved in sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control.
Higher presence of gray matter has been associated with increased learning capabilities and improved memory, along with an increased sense of self awareness.
However grey matter can decrease over time due to many factors including age. You can improve/increase grey matter by practicing mindfulness.
You can improve the cognitive function, learning capability and brain functioning by incorporating simple mindfulness exercises in your daily routine in just eight weeks, which is even proven.
Begin your day with this simple mindfulness technique
Before you open your eyes fix what your day should be from the time you get up till the time you retire to bed. run a fast- forward of the day, bless yourself, your children and your family – and then open your eyes. This simple technique has been very effective in giving a positive input to your brain and paves way to positive thinking.
Meditate for 10 to 15 minutes in the morning or evening and take 5 minute mindful breaks whenever possible.
Self Manage Chronic Pain
Practicing mindfulness helps an individual to overcome pain. Certain illness, accidents and long term debilitating medical conditions may cause chronic pain which seem to be never ending.
In fact more than what the body suffers, in such conditions the brain suffers more – the thought having to live with pain for the remaining period of time makes one hopeless and negative.
Based on ancient mindfulness studies and recent research, it has been studied that people with chronic pain can reduce their pain with mindfulness exercise by 57 %, some meditators have accomplished reduction of 90% of pain.
The exercise involves reaffirming your self with positive thoughts and affirmations, a set of practices including yoga and making yourself rid of negativity and pain.
Done regularly these exercises have been found to make the person happier by many folds.
Imaging studies show that mindfulness soothes the brain patterns underlying pain and, over time, these changes take root and alter the structure of the brain itself, so that patients no longer feel pain with the same intensity. Many patients have reported that they barely notice the pain at all.
Remove Negative Feelings
These days life revolves mostly around a laptop on a chair. This stationary lifestyle affects your overall health and well being. When you sit in a single position for long hours you tend to get negative and your productivity is lost.
This can be helped using a 2 minute mindful walk. In a study conducted in college students, breaking long hours of continuous sitting with two minutes of mindful walks has found to bring in more positivity among the children removing momentary negative feelings leading to health issues.
Incorporating such 2 minute mindfulness- based walking movements and exercises gives best results for parents too, because they need to stop negative feelings such as fatigue, momentary anger, anxiety and so on from taking them over.
Improves Mindful Attention
It has been found that even a short term meditation training (just four days) can enhance the ability to improve attention span in a person.
This is very important in connection to our kids who seem to waver off from every work they have been entitled to do. The connection of brief mindfulness meditation and improvement on attention span has been proved time and again by various researchers across the world.
Long term practice of meditation exercises will sure help your child go to heights you would actually want them to.
Other improvements from brief meditation training included working memory, executive functioning, visuo-spatial processing, reductions in anxiety and fatigue and increased mindfulness.
Mindfulness Gives Better Results In Your Weight Loss Goals
If you type ‘weight loss’ in google you will be inundated with so many tips, diet plans and exercise regimes that you are totally convinced that food and exercise are the only thing that matter with your body weight and your overall well being.
Its true that ‘you are what you eat’ however, it is also true that your mind is above all and it is a superpower that can make or break anything – including your body weight.
How often have you felt guilty while eating a small piece of cookie or a good chicken burger – you immediately feel that you are going to add on calories, you tummy is going to bulge out and you- are going to have a weight problem.
Well, this is the type of signal your mind sends to your body – telling it to accumulate those calories and put exactly where you fear it will be deposited.
In a study conducted among 48 obese women, it was found that stress and excess cortisol secretion were the main culprits of abdominal fat accumulation or abdominal obesity. Psychological stress can also trigger consumption of high fat and sweet food, leading to overall weight gain. Regular and conscious mindfulness practice was found to reduce this stress which was seen in weight loss in obese women.
Researchers also found that greater frequency of eating meals mindfully was slightly related to weight loss, noting that, “Minimally, these techniques may support weight maintenance efforts, and actual weight loss might occur for those participants who eat a high proportion of meals mindfully.”
Being mindful of what you eat and control over your emotions are two main features that meditation and mindfulness exercises bring about in your weightloss goals, which to a great extent helps you in weight management rather than exercise or calorie control.
Best Way To Sleep Better
Insomnia seems to be the latest hazards to the busy life style these days. people find it difficult to get proper sleep and this in turn affect every other aspects of their health.
“Control of consciousness determines the quality of life.” says― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
In his breakthrough book entitled, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, explains the connection between “being in the flow,” and living in full involvement in our day to day existence. He has noted that “reducing sleep-related daytime impairment that has implications for quality of life.”
A guided mindfulness session works great in getting better sleep as well as bringing about the much needed relaxation to your body. Many researches have been conducted and time and again it is proved that mindfulness meditation helps in better sleep.
A study published a few years ago in JAMA Internal Medicine included 49 middle-aged and older adults who had trouble sleeping. Half completed a mindfulness awareness program that taught them meditation and other exercises designed to help them focus on “moment-by-moment experiences, thoughts, and emotions.” The other half completed a sleep education class that taught them ways to improve their sleep habits.
Both groups met six times, once a week for two hours. Compared with the people in the sleep education group, those in the mindfulness group had less insomnia, fatigue, and depression at the end of the six sessions.