Most of us wish we had more time in the day for the things that make us feel healthier and happier. It can be challenging to figure out where to squeeze in these things that we treat as “extras” — as wants more than needs. Consider this your official invitation to move anything that makes your experience of life better (aka self-care!) into the “needs” column. And while you ponder how to make that work globally in your life, I have an incredibly simple way for you to get started.
If you have 60 seconds, you have time to squeeze a mindfulness meditation into your day. Practicing mindfulness helps us go through our days with more calm, grounded energy and less reactivity when things get chaotic. It’s a beautiful, simple practice, and here’s the great thing: You can do this anytime, anywhere.
Being out in nature might be most relaxing — and I highly recommend you make time in your life for that on a regular basis — but you can also do a mindfulness meditation at your desk in the middle of your workday, in traffic on the highway, or while making yourself dinner, just for example.
Many meditation practices require you to close your eyes and withdraw from the moment, but mindfulness meditation can be done with eyes open and while doing almost anything. (And yes, it’s wonderfully relaxing to do with eyes closed, too, when you can!)
Wherever you are, glance at your clock or set a timer for one minute and give yourself that window of time to meditate mindfully. Use all your senses.
Look: Explore your surroundings with your eyes — even familiar surroundings. Notice all the different colors, shapes, and sizes. See the movement and the stillness, the light and the shadow.
Listen: What can you hear? Outside, you might hear wind rustling in the trees, the sounds of birds or other animals, water running through a nearby creek, cars passing on the roadway. Inside, you might hear the voices of those you live or work with, people moving around the space, the hum of electronics, the light snoring of your dog.
Smell: Do you notice any smells? If you’re cooking, you might smell the vegetables you’re chopping, or the noodles cooking on the stovetop. Give yourself time to let this sense explore, even if there aren’t obvious smells from something like cooking. Does the room have a smell? Are there any smells on the breeze? Indoor and outdoor spaces often have subtle smells that we may not normally notice. This noticing is mindfulness!
Touch: Feel the smooth surface of your desk, the spongey texture of your mousepad. If you’re outside, feel the sensation of the air on your skin and the sun on your face. Feel your breath coming in and out of your nostrils. Feel your feet on the ground.
Taste: This one is great for mindful cooking moments, or tasting the bright, minty taste of your toothpaste when brushing your teeth. You might also notice that you are tasting while you are smelling, as the two sensations are integrally related. Try this mindfulness practice next time you’re out in nature and see if you can “taste” the breeze by the water’s edge, in the forest, or even in the city.
You could pick one of these senses to focus on each day for five days, or explore them all in a single sitting. (You may also want to check out some of the one-minute nature meditation videos I’ve posted on Facebook, or explore some of my short mindfulness meditations on Insight Timer. This one shifts attention to each sense.)
Mindfulness meditation is a fun and simple way to build more tranquility into your day. While you are noticing the information coming in through your senses, you are giving your brain a break from the cycle of worry and rumination that our primate brains are wired to do to keep us safe! You deserve a break today — and every day!
Join Panache Desai each weekday morning for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.
Designed To Move You From Survival and Fear to Safety and Peace. Available Monday - Friday. Meditation begins at 9 AM. Access early to hear Panache's monologue - around 8:30 AM.
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