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5 Simple Mindfulness Practices

We are in a stressful and unknown time and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by anxiety and fear. Here are some simple mindfulness practices that might help:

1) BREATHE: Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. Breathe 4 seconds in and 6 seconds out. Focus your attention on each breath and the feeling of your hands rising and falling. Repeat at least 3 times.

2) BRING YOUR AWARENESS TO THE PRESENT MOMENT: Place your feet gently on the ground. What do the bottoms of your feet feel like? If sitting, notice the chair beneath you. What does the chair feel like beneath you? Bring your attention to your senses and what is in your current environment. Allow yourself to slow down and be curious about what your senses are noticing in this moment. What does your environment look like? Smell like? Feel like? Sound like? Name what your are observing "I see _____. I hear _____. I smell _____." Take a few deeps breaths.

3) ACKNOWLEDGE AND LET GO: If you notice yourself getting tightly wrapped or stuck in fear, anxiety, or stress, practice being present with and fully acknowledging what you are feeling without pushing it away or avoiding. Name the experience, "I am experiencing fear." Breathe. When ready, imagine the fear, anxiety, or stress leaving your body as you exhale. Take a few more deep breaths.

4) COMPASSION AND GRATITUDE: Think of a situation, person, or place that you love, feel connected to, or have gratitude for. Allow yourself to indulge in that experience and let the feeling fill up your whole body. Breathe. Imagine that feeling being sent out into the world with your exhale and taking it in when you inhale.

5) TAKE A BREAK: Turn off the computer/TV and put down your phone. Go for a walk outside if that is accessible and safe (or you can walk around your living space). Walk slowly and feel your feet hitting the ground. Step, step, step. Bring your attention to any elements of nature that are around you (even if it is just the sky or an indoor plant). Take a few deep breaths.

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