When we are stressed-out, sad, anxious, irritated, or angry, we typically want those feelings to just disappear. This is natural. Mindfulness allows us to bring a healthy discernment into our everyday experience and identify the elements of our thought, speech, and behavior that lead to suffering and those that lead to freedom says NYC-based meditation instructor Kirat Randhawa. Mindfulness is the practice of being at ease with what is. The more you practice, the easier it gets to be more accepting of whatever feelings are present.
The Name Game
This game is simpler than Eye Spy and yet it can be a powerful tool to curb spiraling thoughts. First, look around you and name three things you can hear, then two things you can see, and finally one sensation that you feel.
Intention Setting Exercises
Before you open up your laptop and begin your usual grind, take a few moments to center yourself. “Setting aside a little time in the morning to set intentions helps you start the day with a clear mind,” says Shirin Eskandani, mindset coach and founder of Wholehearted Coaching. “This can include journaling, movement, reading, or meditation. Be flexible and do what feels best.”
Deep Breathing Exercise
Chances are, if you’re feeling a bit anxious, your breath may feel short, shallow, or constrained. So one simple way to relieve stress is to practice deep breathing through the diaphragm taking long, deep breaths.
Candle Study Exercise
Light your favorite candle, sit comfortably, and watch the flame sway and flicker. “This is actually a form of meditation,” says Martinez. Gaze at candle for five to 10 minutes and let your mind wander, she says. Observe your thoughts. Let them pass without judgement.
Tea Drinking Exercise
If you love drinking tea every day, why not try drinking it a little bit slower? Better yet, try drawing you attention to the sensations, smells, or sounds you observe from the moment you start brewing to the moment you finish your cup. If you’re more of a coffee person, you can perform this practice in the same manner. In fact, you can bring this sort of mindfulness to any activity.
Gratitude List Exercise
After you wake up in the morning or before you go to bed at night, write five to 10 things that you are grateful for.
The Chime Game
If you have a chime or a bell, ring it once and observe the moment you can’t hear the sound anymore. “You can do this with your family or a group of friends,” says Martinez. “Have each person raise their hand when they lose the sound. You might find that everyone’s hearing is different.” If you don’t have chime, you can use another musical instrument.
The Sound Game
This is another exercise you can do with your kids. It’s very similar to “The Name Game” except this time, invite your little ones “to put on their listening ears” like they are putting on imaginary headphones. Ask them to identify 10 sounds that they can hear.