Here are some simple mindfulness break ideas to help you stay in the present moment to live a healthy and happy life.
Remember your breath
Take short mindfulness breaks during the day. This is your first line of defense for your stress and busy life. Develop the practice of taking a deep breath, or two or three, before you answer someone in a tense moment. The breath clears the mind, body, and soul and draws you into the present moment. In the moments you want to react with a hostile comment that may cause anger, breathing creates space for you to make a mindful decision before you react.
Discover a mini
When you are waiting in a long line at a store, in a car in heavy traffic or on hold on your telephone, use this as an opportunity for a mini. A mini is a one- to a three-minute quickie. Take a moment, if you are able, close your eyes (not in traffic), or focus your eyes on something, take several deep diaphragmatic breaths, and repeat a one- to a three-word affirmation with each deep breath. I like to say, “Keep letting go…” “I am grateful for my life.” After just a minute or two you feel like a new person with a new sense of energy and clarity. Many tense moments are caused by simple exhaustion and this mini offers you an opportunity to be present in the moment.
You are present in your body when you laugh. Women should laugh as often as possible to release the healing hormones endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. Instead of buying pills for our stress, we can go rent a funny movie, or go online to a humorous site daily and share it with our co-workers. Laughter lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones and boosts our immune function.
Playing brings you into the present moment. Re-establish “childlike” qualities. Children are present in their lives. Science tells us when we play it increases our immune cells that combat diseases. Playfulness also increases creativity and optimism at home and at work. Play with your dog or cat and experience your sense of intimacy and and take a mindfulness break.
Keep a bottle of essential oil or fragrant hand cream. There is solid science about aromatherapy. If you have a tendency towards depression use citrus, peppermint or eucalyptus plug ins. If you suffer from anxiety, worry or fear use lavender or chamomile plug ins. Your sense of smell is immediate and it will draw you into the present moment.
We are 70 percent water, our brain is 85 percent water. Water can draw you into the present moment. Drink a glass of sparkling cold water with a lime. Notice the taste, the temperature, the refreshing feeling as you drink. Take a small moist hand towel from the microwave and put it on your face for a minute and lie down. Refresh with some cool water on your face or keep lemon or citrus spritzer in the fridge and spray your face for joy and mindfulness break.
Your senses will bring you into the present
Think of how you can enhance your senses. Sight. What colors are around you, get something with your favorite or energetic color near you, maybe a small throw or pillow, or cloth under your pictures, women may keep a shawl on a chair, the paint on your walls. Paintings on your wall, or a great piece of colored fabric.
Keep bottles of essential oils in your desk or in your office. Peppermint picks you up, lavender calms you down, citrus can just make you feel fresh and happy. Whatever resonates with you. Taste: keep some small low-calorie mints or a box of Altoids on your desk, for a pick me up. Most have under 5 calories. Eat a piece of fruit or a wonderful cookie very slowly and mindfully. Look at the color and texture of the apple, listen to the sound of your bite, taste the sweetness, slowly chew and be mindful of the experience of each bite and be grateful for the apple, the grower, the grocer.
Background music is calming and can produce serotonin, the healing calming hormone. Or you can have a nature sound machine which has sounds of nature. Touch. Keep beads or mementos that you touch and remind you to return you to the present.
Take “wellness breaks” twice a day, for at least 5-10 minutes each time
We know from research the connection of our minds and bodies. Every thought and emotion releases a neuro-chemical into our bloodstreams.
Ritual reminds you and brings you into the present moment. The ritual of mindfully drinking a cup of coffee, praying (blessing your food, morning or evening), gardening (bonsai trimming or watering your plants). Ritual is different from habituation. Habitually drinking coffee is mindless and hollow, the opposite of mindfully drinking coffee (experience the color, the smell, the cup, the taste, the temperature).