Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga. It helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that, instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them.
Mindfulness can be used in your everyday life and doesn’t have to take a lot of effort or time. You can practise mindfulness in just one minute!
In this section, we describe various one-minute mindfulness practices so that you can try it yourself anywhere and at any time that suits you.
This is a chance for you to step out of the daily grind and to allow time to be present with yourself; that is, being present with yourself, and with whatever arises in your mind and body. Take a minute to observe your breathing. Breathe in and out as you normally would: notice the time between each inhalation and exhalation; notice your lungs expanding. When your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath.
It can often feel like we’re an observer of our own body caught up in our heads. Spend your one mindful minute bringing awareness to your body and your body’s sensations. Close your eyes and begin scanning your body. Start with your feet, and then slowly bring your awareness upwards in your body until you reach your hands. What sensations do you feel? Heaviness in the legs? Strain in the back? Perhaps no sensations at all. Now move your focus out from the hands and become aware of your environment and the space all around you.
Mindful walking is something you can practise at any time as you go about your day. It’s good to try it slowly at first, but once you’re used to it, you can practise it at any pace – even when you’re rushing.
Walk slowly: become aware of the sensations in the soles of your feet as they make contact with the floor, and any sensations in the muscles of the legs. You don’t have to look down at your feet. When your mind wanders, use the contact of the feet on the floor as an anchor to bring you back into the present moment. Just take a minute to focus on the sensations generated by walking.
Eating mindfully can take us out of autopilot, helping us appreciate and enjoy the experience more.
The next time you eat, stop to observe your food. Give it your full attention. Notice the texture: really see it, feel it, smell it, take a bite into it – noticing the taste and texture in the mouth – continue to chew, bringing your full attention to the taste of it.
By taking this time out to tune in to your environment and listen to what it tells you, it will help you to bring mindfulness into the rest of your life – bringing your awareness as you move through the day. Take a minute to listen to the sounds in your environment. You don’t need to try and determine the origin or type of sounds you hear, just listen and absorb the experience of their quality and how it resonates with you. If you recognise a sound then label it and move on, allowing your ears to catch new sounds.