5 One-Minute-Mindfulness Exercises

5 One-Minute-Mindfulness Exercises

Self-care does not need to include sacrifice. Time is one of our most precious commodities; however, our mental health – our wellness – is even more salient.

Here are 5 mindfulness activities that you can do in just one minute, via PsychCentral

Just sit

This is a basic meditation that could become the cornerstone of your mindfulness practice. It’s easy to learn and is designed to be done in as little as 1 minute.

You can try the below version, provided by the Center for Healthy Living at Kaiser Permanente.

  1. Sit up straight, but not stiffly, in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Place your hands in a balanced position and close your eyes.
  3. Focus on your breathing, as you follow each breath in and out.
  4. After 1 minute (or longer), gradually open your eyes and resume activities.

Quick tip: The sands of time

To help you keep up your 1-minute meditation practice, try keeping a 1-minute hourglass timer on your desk or your bedside table.

Anytime you see something that draws your interest, like how the light plays on the wall or the sound of a bird outside, just turn the timer upside down.

Focus on your breath along with what you see, hear, or feel for 1 minute.

Walking meditation

You can start doing this meditation for 1 minute as you walk from the kitchen to the living room, or from your home to your car. Later, you might expand walking meditations to include part or all of a daily walk.

This version of a walking meditation comes from the Buddhist mindfulness teacher Thich Nhat Hanh’s book “Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices.”

  1. As you begin walking, pay attention to each step.
  2. Notice how many steps you take during each inhale and exhale, and at the speed you’re walking. Pay attention to your lungs, and do not force your breathing or the number of steps you take.
  3. Match your steps to your breath. For example, as you breathe in, count 1-2-3 steps. As you breathe out, count 1-2-3 steps. Let your lungs and feet come to a happy equilibrium.
  4. As you walk, you may wish to say a phrase that approximates the rhythm of your walking. Thich Nhat Hanh suggests: “With each step, a gentle wind blows.”

Waking up

The first moments of waking are a wonderful time to practice mindfulness to greet the day:

  1. Arrange your body in a comfortable position.
  2. Stretch and let your attention scan your body quickly.
  3. Pay attention to how each part of your body feels.
  4. Follow several cycles of inhales and exhales for 1 minute.

Free-range meditation

“Free-range meditation” is a term from the book “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics” by Dan Harris, Jeff Warren, and Carlye Adler. It refers to co-opting daily activities for your meditation practice.

They use the example of a shower:

  1. Pay attention to the action of turning faucets, standing under the spray, putting on soap.
  2. Feel the warm water, trying to feel each individual stream.
  3. Switch to cooler water for a couple of seconds, then back to warm water.
  4. Keep your attention on the present. If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back.
  5. Keep doing this for a minute to start, and you may eventually extend it to include the entire shower, and drying off as well!

You can do free-range meditation with any of your daily activities — brushing your teeth, washing dishes, drinking coffee, and even having a conversation with your spouse or friend.

Passing through a door

This exercise comes from pediatrician Jan Chozen Bays’ book of mindfulness exercises: “How to Train a Wild Elephant.” She calls it Entering New Spaces.

It helps us learn to leave and enter rooms, cars, houses — anything with a door — mindfully.

“Before you walk through a door, pause, even for a second, and take one breath,” she writes. “Be aware of the differences you might feel in each new space you enter.”

She also advises mindful attention to how we close the door behind us before entering the new environment. “We often move immediately into a new space without finishing up with the old one, forgetting to close the door or letting it slam shut,” she points out.


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