Diet and exercise, meditation and mindfulness, gratitude and journaling; they’re all part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Don’t worry, we’re not here to lecture you. We all know these are things we should include in our daily routines, but it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Rather, we THINK it’s not as easy as it sounds. Often times, we get so overwhelmed by just the thought of these tasks that we never actually try them. So, what if we told you all it would take is five minutes of your time to introduce a new healthy habit to your day. Would you try it then? When you spend hours scrolling mindlessly through your phone, can you dedicate five of those minutes to a little wellness and self-care? We think so. So find somewhere comfortable, light your favourite incense, and follow the next few steps to complete an easy, five minute mindfulness practice (we promise you’ll be done before your incense even burns out).
Five-Minute Mindfulness Practice
• First, find a quiet place to sit or lay comfortably for the duration of your practice. This can be on your couch, your bed, a floor pillow, your garden, a park bench, or anywhere else you feel at peace. Feel free to take a few minutes and prepare your space by lighting incense and/or candles, making yourself a warm cup of tea, dimming the lights, grabbing a blanket, whatever you need to make this time sacred and relaxing.
• Next, choose something to anchor you throughout this practice. For many mindfulness practices the breath can be a helpful focus point. For others, sometimes a combination of the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste) is more affective. Whichever you choose for yourself in this moment, you can use this anchor to focus deeply on and return your attention to when your mind inevitably begins to wander.
• You might also want to choose a mantra or affirmation for your practice: something you think or say out loud to yourself to empower and motivate you. Something along the lines of “I welcome peace into my life,” “I choose to be kind to myself,” “thank you universe for all the good things in my life I don’t know about yet,” or anything else that resonates with you. For more examples, check out our blog post 7 Daily Mantras for The Week Ahead.
• You’re now ready to begin your mindful five minutes. If you’re working within a busy schedule, consider setting a timer. This will help you concentrate on your practice more deeply, knowing you have something to track your time for you.
• Begin by focusing on your chosen anchor while breathing deeply. Take a deep inhale through your nose, hold it for three seconds at the top of your breath, and then release it out your mouth. Repeat this process for a few more breaths before returning to your normal, comfortable breathing. After your deep breaths, recite your mantra as many times as you feel you need (we suggest repeating your mantra to yourself slowly at least three times to really soak in its message).
• As you continue to breathe and focus on your mantra and anchor, understand that unrelated and distracting thoughts are inevitable. Simply notice that you’re having these thoughts, greet them without judgement, then let them go and refocus on your anchor. You might have to do this frequently throughout this mindfulness exercise, however, with more practice, your mind will begin to wander less. • Finish up your practice once the timer goes off (or as soon as you feel ready). Be kind to yourself if you feel your mind wandered too much or you ended too soon. There are no rules. Instead, take a moment to sit and feel proud that you did this at all and thank yourself for dedicating time out of your day to relax and carryout this practice.
• After taking a moment of gratitude to acknowledge your practice has come to an end, take a sip of water before returning to your day.