There are only so many hours in a day, so you probably try to save time for the important stuff. Unfortunately, mental health ranks toward the bottom of our priority lists all too often. Many of us want mindfulness to become a daily habit, but that goal falls to the wayside because we think we have to carve out a huge chunk of time. In reality, all you need is a minute.
Not convinced? Take a look at the valuable benefits of mindfulness meditation and how to achieve them in 60 seconds or less.
How mindfulness can transform your day
Many people doubt that mindfulness helps because it can’t make all their problems magically disappear. But mindfulness isn’t about being happy all the time—it’s about savoring the simple pleasures and making the most of a stressful situation.
Here’s what a daily mindful minute can do for you:
- Show compassion toward others: When we get so wrapped up in our own feelings, we forget to consider the feelings of people around us. Mindfulness meditation gets you out of your head and helps you examine how others are reacting to the situation. You can’t know for sure what they’re thinking without asking, but try to remind yourself that people act negatively because they’re dealing with their own problems just like you.
- Find more reasons to be happy: Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment. Becoming engulfed with worry, anger or anxiety means we’re not tuned in to the here and now. As cliché as it sounds, you really do have to stop and smell the roses! Mindfulness helps you soak in the immediate surroundings and find silver linings even on the worst of days. From that first sip of coffee to relaxing with a hot shower before bed, there’s joy in every moment if you look for it.
- Relieve feelings of stress: Not surprisingly, mindfulness meditation does wonders for stress relief. After just a few minutes of reflection, mindfulness provides a healthy way for you to process negative thoughts or feelings. The practice encourages you to be a passive observer of what’s going on inside your brain and let the thoughts float by without judgment. Plus, setting aside time for yourself amidst a hectic schedule gives you a chance to relax and take a break from it all.
Mindful moments to build into your routine
A lot of people operate under the impression that they don’t have time to sit around and do nothing. In reality, mindfulness meditation is a very engaging activity that can make you more productive and help your daily routine run more smoothly. You can even practice mindfulness and complete tasks at the same time!
Here’s how it works:
- Be mindful during your daily commute: The best way to fit in a quick mindfulness session is to coordinate it alongside a consistent, daily ritual like riding to work. Commutes are often stressful, whether you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic or your train got delayed. If you’re stuck going nowhere, you might as well use that as an opportunity to be mindful! Take a few deep breaths and look objectively at the events happening around you. Separate yourself from the stress and make room for acceptance of the less-than-favorable circumstances.
- Savor food during your lunch break: When you’re in a hurry, you might scarf down that sandwich in 10 minutes flat. But rushing to get back to work will only precipitate more stress. Besides, food isn’t just fuel—you’re supposed to enjoy it! Begin every lunch break with a minute of deep breathing to center your mind. As you eat, pay attention to the flavors and whether or not you actually like what you’re eating. Choose foods you look forward to and turn lunch breaks into a time of relaxation.
- Connect to your surroundings with the five senses: You can apply this mindfulness technique anytime, anywhere. It’s most beneficial in moments when thoughts of worry, fear or anxiety start to spin out of control. Engaging your five senses transitions your focus from abstract thoughts to the tangible environment. Look for things that fulfill your sense of taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight. This practice will firmly root you in the present moment and instantly calm racing thoughts.
No matter how busy you get, there’s always time in the day for a mindful minute. We’ve all experienced what can happen when we don’t prioritize our mental health. The healing powers of mindfulness are immediate and can build a healthy, sustainable way of life when practiced on a regular basis. Doing “nothing” might very well be the most important thing you do today!