Mindful exercises are really useful for helping you to get into “mindfulness mode” for your day. They will also make you much more likely to use mindfulness techniques during the day. The exercises here are very simple and anybody can do them – it’s just a matter of putting aside a few minutes every day to do one or more of them. Try these and see if there’s one that appeals to you.
Spend a little time observing the sensation of your breathing at the entrance to your nostrils and just inside them. This is a great way to focus your attention and to bring bring yourself right into the present moment. Don’t worry about whether you’re doing it the right way or the wrong way. Just notice your breath, that’s all. But remember to keep bringing your attention back to your breath whenever it drifts away. This is called the ‘anchor point’ because it’s good training in bringing your attention back to the here and now.
Bring your attention right down to your feet. Notice what’s going on there. Become aware of all the tingling and changing sensations in the soles of your feet. This is a really good exercise especially if you’re feeling a bit agitated. If you want to break it down, you could become aware of the feeling of your toes, then of the soles of your feet, then the tops of your feet, then your ankles, and then of your feet in their entirety.
Try to hold your attention on your breathing for a while or, if you prefer, on the feeling of sitting down, lying down or standing. While you are doing this, your mind will drift off. Every time you notice that this has happened, silently say the word ‘thinking’ and bring your attention back. Say it gently and with understanding. This is a really good way to deal with your mind’s tendency to wander: kindly and without criticism.