Easy Mindfulness Breaks

There are days when life just doesn’t make it easy to stop and take time for a longer period of meditation. But why let that prevent you from injecting mindfulness into your life in small doses throughout the day? Being mindful throughout the day isn’t about doing everything as if you were handling a delicate porcelain vase. It’s more about taking short breaks from the momentum of persistent thoughts that can lead to needless stress. Here are five suggestions for quick doses of refreshing mini-breaks to spread throughout your day.

1. Wake Up with a Pause

When you go to wash up in the morning, as you look in the mirror, use it as a chance to take three conscious breaths before you start your mental engines. Then, as you brush your teeth, go slow and pay attention, using the sensation to bring your attention back to the moment, despite the pull to start revving up your thoughts about the day ahead.

2. Breathe, Drink, Breathe

When you’re drinking your favorite morning beverage, you’ll taste it more and enjoy it better if you sip it, occasionally taking pauses to experience the full sensation of what you’re doing. This little act can help set the tone for the day: Use your senses to bring your awareness back into your body.

3. Take a Little Walk

At some point every day, take a short walk—even if it’s only around your house or office—paying full attention to each step as your foot hits the ground, and the other foot lifts, swings, and lands. If you can make the walk slightly longer, you’ll get some exercise while also getting out of your head and into your body for a few minutes. If the walk is on the way to yoga, an exercise class, or a swim, so much the better!

4. Give Thanks Before Eating

At your dinner, take a moment to be thankful that you have good, nourishing food, and give some thought to all the people who helped to make that possible. This little moment of gratitude can shift your attitude to enjoying a little feast rather than just getting the meal over with. If you’re eating with others, see if you can enlist them into pausing at the beginning and taking a break from devices.

5. A Breather Before Bed

Sit for a moment with your feet on the floor before you get completely into bed. Take three to five minutes to follow your breath as it goes in and out, noticing your thoughts and letting them dissolve, and then returning to the breath. It’ll help you sleep better, too!

Find out about programs with Barry Boyce at Kripalu.

Barry Boyce is editor-in-chief of Mindful magazine and mindful.org. A longtime meditation practitioner and teacher—he is the editor of and a primary contributor to The Mindfulness Revolution.

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