In this article I’m going to be sharing with you my nine best mindfulness exercises besides meditation.
But first, let’s step back a bit, and let’s start by discussing what mindfulness is.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the mental state achieved when you are focusing your awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.
It is often used as a therapeutic technique, and it pretty much means just shifting your awareness over into the present moment. There are plenty of benefits from doing mindfulness exercises, including decreasing your stress and anxiety. When you practice mindfulness, you are allowing your emotions and your feelings to come up without placing judgment on them.
In terms of creating balance for yourself emotionally as well as physically the brain that goes to sleep every single night however your mind doesn’t so mindfulness is a way to let the mind rest it’s really really a therapeutic it’s great for your body mind and soul.
Nine Effective Mindfulness Exercises
OK, so now I am going to go ahead and jump into the nine different exercises.
The first of the mindfulness exercises which I want to share with you, is the focus exercise. What you’re going to do here, is choose an object that you can see right now, that is something in the room, something on your body. Maybe a food that you’re eating right now? You’re going to really shift all of your focus and all of your energy on that object. What does it feel like? What does it smell like? What does it look like?
Play with the texture; move it around a little bit. Really just vividly look at that object and place all of your energy on that object. Analyse it and study it; just sit there and look at it and appreciate it for everything that it is.
Look at every little detail on it. When you focus so intently on this object, your mind won’t be able to drift off into other areas of your life. You are going to be completely aware of that object in front of you and your mind is going to be consumed with that object, and not worry about other parts of your life.
The second of the mindfulness exercises we will look at, is breathing.
This is where you’re going to shift your awareness to your breath. I’ve done this many times throughout yoga and it’s a great meditation practice. Whether you’re laying down, sitting upright or whatever it is you’re going to focus on your breath.
Focus on the intensity of your breath; your inhale, your exhale, the rise and fall of your chest, the breath going in and out through your nose, through your mouth. Observe your breath, observe your heart rate; you can even adjust your breath if you’re having a stressful moment.
Take really, really long inhale, hold it, breathe a little bit more in, step a little bit more and just let it all out. It is so crazy what mindfulness with your breath can do to your mood, amazing!
It’s a huge part of yoga practice that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with, even just meditation too. When you’re meditating, you can focus on your breath. When you sit there and create awareness to your breath, you are creating mindfulness whether it’s exaggerated breath or just normal natural breath.
We breathe without noticing it day to day and when you sit there and shift your awareness to it, it’s amazing. I read a quote the other day, that said your breath is your spirit what happens when you die you stop breathing. That’s your spirit. So when you sit there and shift over to your spirit, it creates consciousness and being present and aware of your spirituality in yourself.
Breath is so important and again we just do it automatically and when you shift focus to it, it creates such a great space in your mind and your being. It just feels so good to do this, it’s one of my favourite mindfulness exercises ever.
Number three on my list of mindfulness exercises, is simply get out in nature.
Doing this is something that instantly drives me into the present moment. I will often sit, stand or walk through nature and I’ll just notice every little thing, such as the animals, or noises like the wind, or even sometimes the ground, by placing your feet directly on the Earth’s surface.
Clouds to me bring so much awe in my life it’s like a feeling of awe when I sit there and just look up at the sky and I don’t have anything else in my peripheral vision besides the clouds.
I honestly feel feelings of awe like it is so intense and it instantly draws me into the present moment. Another thing is looking at stars at night you know just being there at being one with nature.
I know that sounds so corny however it really shifts my mind so much into the present moment it helps me breathe better I just feel so much better when I’m in nature.
Number four on our list of mindfulness exercises, is the body scan. I actually do this all the time in yoga.
You’re going to lay down on your back, and just do a full-body scan. Focus bit by bit, on every part of your body; from the top of your head, all the way to your toes.
Close your eyes and focus on your forehead. Just sit there and breathe through your forehead. Then you’re going to focus on your eyebrows, and then your eyelids and then your eyes. With every breath that you take in and out, focus on a different part of your body and just kind of scan down all the way to the tips of your toes.
When you’re focusing so intently on each part of your body, your mind won’t be able to drift off into other parts of your life and it will be so presently aware of every single body part.
Fifth place in meditation exercises to discuss is gratitude. You can practice mindfulness is through a gratitude journal. you don’t really have to do this in a journal, just sitting down you can actually do this.
Just laying down in your bed if you want however you’re going to sit there and name as many things as you can that you are grateful that you have right now. If you need inspiration, here’s a list on tiny buddha, called 60 things to be grateful for.
Right here and now that you weren’t probably aware of or even thought about. Your speech for giving you the outlet to express yourself. Your legs and feet for allowing you to walk, run, jog and curl up in comfort of your seat.
There are so many different things that we are so unaware of that we are just given in our life that we don’t appreciate because we don’t sit there and think about it all the time.
We just think that it’s a given and the fact that it is a given is something to just be grateful for in itself, however if you go through this list there are so many different things on this list that you were not presently aware that you are grateful for however you would not be able to live without it is such a great list I really highly recommend it.
Sixth in the list of mindfulness exercises that I have is daily intention. This is something that I really really live by and I love creating daily intentions or daily mantras.
An intention is not a goal an intention is limitless you’re going to be living with it throughout your day and you’re going to be comment rather than set a goal and trying to achieve it if that makes sense it’s not something that you can just kind of cross off your checklist so what I do every single morning is creating an intention for myself whatever I want my focus to be for the day what I want to surround my day based upon your focal point for the day is going to be that intention
Some examples of intention is finding balance throughout your day acting with courage connecting with others finding happiness in every single situation leading by example. Always have your intention in the back of your mind. Write it down on a post-it note and place it on your desk.
Throughout your day-to-day activities, you’re going to have that intention in the back of your mind and you’re going to act with that in mind creating the day that you intended for yourself to have, no matter what comes up.
You’re aligning yourself with that intention and therefore becoming that which is what you wanted in the first place and ultimately when you have this daily intention it brings it back to your why of who you want to be and your true self.
At seventh place is the five senses technique. You’re going to sit down right where you are and experience your scenario right now. You’re going to name five things that you can see, right now four things that you’re feeling, three things that you’re hearing, two things that you’re smelling and one thing that you can taste whether that’s just your chapstick on your lips or your tongue in your mouth.
It’s really really fun that’s a really good one even if you’re just standing at the grocery store or lying on the couch, sit there and do the five senses technique.
It could be when you’re in traffic, when you’re sitting in your bed at night, when you’re watching TV with your loved one or when you’re at a coffee shop waiting in line. There’s so many different ways that you can do this and when you do that it instantly draws you into your space.
Number 8 in my list of mindfulness exercises is to rearrange your room. There’s so much power in rearranging your space. It is crazy you can rearrange your apartment, your room, your closet, your drawers, your desk or whatever it is. Take everything out and just sit there and create a new space for yourself.
Not only do you get in the flow state when you’re rearranging your room, you will also notice and become aware of every single thing in that room, whether it’s staple pieces, the lighting in your room, dust that you may not have known accumulated underneath your couch.
The weight of everything, the positioning of everything, the energy and the shift in your mood that comes from just even simply moving little things or cleaning and rearranging drawers. It just instantly elevates your mood because not only are you being mindful however you’re creating a new energy and a space.
What will be really fun is to do the five senses technique before you rearrange and then after you rearrange. It’ll be really interesting to kind of see how much it affects your mood and your feeling and and your energy.
Ninth and last of our mindfulness exercises is going to be mindfulness immersion. What you want to do here is take a task that has become automatic to you. A simple task of your day-to-day life, whether that’s driving to work, brushing your teeth, doing the dishes; something that doesn’t really require a lot of thought.
Then you’re going to shift the focus of that task by changing it up. For example, take a different route to work or brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand or do the dishes and focus solely on doing the dishes. Focus on feeling that sponge in your hand, the warmth of the water, the food running down the plate; really focus all of your energy on that task.
Doing this will require more attention and you’ll notice things that you’ve never really noticed before. When our minds become automatic by doing the simple tasks we no longer sit there and think about the task at hand. Our mind drifts and wanders into other spaces of our life that is not presently happening right now.
When you shift it up like this and change up the scenario of the task, you will be so intently focused on that task you will no longer be able to drift into other parts of your life and worry about the past or future.
You will be so presently aware. I did this when I brush my teeth with my non-dominant hand. I am right-handed and I brush my teeth with my left hand and I had to become so aware of every single brush stroke that I was brushing my teeth with, to make sure I wasn’t missing any spots. I did it slower, I was more mindful when I was brushing my teeth.
So there we have it; my list of the nine mindfulness exercises that I wanted to share with you. What one is your favourite? Try them all out over time, and pick one you can do regularly. Your mind and body will love you for it.