These Micro-Mindfulness Exercises Will Help You Instantly Recenter
But after practicing these quick mindfulness exercises recommended by the pros, you'll immediately feel the chill wash over you. Here's how to de-stress, stat.
Check In with Yourself First Thing
"Morning is my favorite time to get my heart out," says Koya Webb, a holistic health coach and the author of Let Your Fears Make You Fierce (Buy It, $16, amazon.com). "Before you even get out of bed, write down what you feel in a journal, without overthinking it. You'll start your day feeling calmer and more focused."
Use the Power of Touch
"I'm a big fan of mudras, which are hand gestures. Anjali mudra is a great way to come back to yourself," says Ellen Barrett, a yoga pro who leads her Mindful Movement studio online. For a quick mindfulness exercise, bring your hands in prayer at your heart, or just place one hand flat at the center of your chest. "Keep it there for a few moments and notice where you are, who you are, and what you need," says Barrett. (Related: How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation Anywhere)
Take 5 In Your Happy Place
"Create a sanctuary that is your special place — maybe a comfy chair or your bed," says Mallika Chopra, a wellness expert and the author of Just Be You (Buy It, $12, amazon.com). "Give yourself five minutes to just be. To put your phone aside, drink your tea, and consciously step away from all distractions." (BTW, here's how to create phone-life balance.)
When you're ready to step away from your laptop or you're done with the work rush, sit on the floor. "It's grounding in every way, physically and emotionally, which definitely induces mindfulness," says Barrett. Even doing a forward fold to touch the floor with your palms — or simply standing consciously — works as a mindfulness exercise. "When things are feeling a bit out of control, feeling the solid earth below you is stabilizing," adds Chopra. (You might want to add a grounding mat to your routine, as well.)
Zone Out Every 90 Minutes
"The human brain does not, for the most part, stay in a state of focus for more than 90 minutes. It switches into task-negative mode," says sociologist Christine Carter, Ph.D., the author of The New Adolescence (Buy It, $14, amazon.com) and a Shape Brain Trust member. The mindfulness exercise that acts as a mental palate cleanser? "We just need to let ourselves daydream," she says. "We need to let our minds wander."
Just like a healthy snack that keeps you from feeling hangry, a cozy moment will head off feeling overwhelmed, says Carter. "Look at the things you find comforting — that are healthy — not as luxuries but as necessities in this time." The key is to be serene and off screens. For Carter, that means using brushing her dog's fur as a mindfulness exercise.
Shape Magazine, April 2021 issue