Four Quick Mindfulness Exercises
Eden Kozlowski, Contributor
As a lover and teacher of meditation and mindfulness, I see the adverse affects of stress everyday in my clients – physically, emotionally and spiritually. I am witnessing more and more that any moments of awareness we can give ourselves during the day can be powerful and place us swiftly into a calmer and more connected place. This can happen whether you decide to do a 20-minute meditation OR simply take a second to notice what is around you with awareness and clarity. Big steps or lil’ steps; they are all steps.
Here are four simple exercises to bring some mindfulness and calmness to you right now:
- Stop and feel gratitude for one thing in your life. First, think about it in detail, then pause, and place your left hand on your heart to feel it. When I say feel it, literally breathe it in, feel your heartbeat and see if you can notice it energize (because it will, whether you are conscious of it or not). What this does: We are a society driven by “what’s next.” We pass from thing to thing without taking the time to notice what we have accomplished or the big/little things that were important along the way. One minute of this focused and grateful consideration can change the direction of your whole day. There is so much more good in our lives than we allow ourselves to see. See it!
- Pause 3-5 times today and take note of how you are breathing. As you are doing this ask yourself: Am I holding my breath? Is it shallow or deep? Is it tight or flowing? Find the words to really name how your breath feels. What this does: Our breath is everything. Obviously, without it – we aren’t. Breathing constricts during stress or tension, which cuts off the natural flow of oxygen to the brain, which therefore influences every other part of your body. Your breath is life. How are you choosing to live it?
- Invite yourself to really pay attention to all the food that you eat today or simply one snack or one meal. Do you see this item or items as calories or nourishment? When you are done eating/drinking, what does your body feel like? Do you eat rapidly or methodically? What else do you do while you eat? What this does: If you are an American, chances are you don’t think much about your food. This exercise gives you a chance to connect with what sustains you. Also ask, how was this food grown? How many people had a hand in producing what I am eating? Then, get deeper… is this food organic or not? If not, what does that mean? Food is so important in every aspect from our health to the methods in which it was produced how that affects our environment and our world. Be conscious and see what happens.
- If you are going to take a shower or a bath today, I challenge you to make it an experience rather that just a task. Questions to ask yourself: How does the water feel on my body? Where does this fresh water come from? What does it feel like to be “clean.” Where do the water go? How do I feel when I’m done? What this does: Everyday tasks can take on a new vibe when really observed. This can be anything from washing dishes, brushing your child’s hair, cooking… and, yes, even cleaning out your ears. Also, doing an exercise that involves water is extra nice as water is such an important force our lives. Like our breath, we can’t live without it and at the same time, it is us.
In conclusion, mindfulness is about being engaged; experiencing all the little, fabulous details and feelings. And, in turn, it makes us softer and calmer. These details also begin to connect us to the big picture and the glorious web that embraces all of us snuggly with everyone and everything. Mindfulness and meditation allow full body, full mind and full spirit experiences. An hour a day or a minute a day… it and you can bring more peace to the world… one connected thought at a time.
About the Author
Eden Koz (Kozlowski) fiercely helps people of all ages feel better physically/mentally and to assist them to really connect to everything around them… their life, work, family, community and spirit. Her company, Just Be LLC, targets those specifically with anxiety, depression and/or grief. She has been practicing balancing methodologies and working on herself for almost 20 years and has had her company (home-based in Akron, OH) for over a decade.
At Just Be, she offers private sessions, monthly classes as well as corporate sessions/speaking engagements on a variety of subjects (increasing emotional intelligence, healing addiction, establishing life balance, healing miscarriage, weight loss as a lifestyle, etc). She also hosts kid sessions and helps schools on many topics.
Blog: The Huffington Post
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