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5 Simple mindfulness exercises you can do TODAY

Updated: Jan 28, 2020

mindfulness, meditation, mindfulness practice, body image, intuitive eating, intuitive eating coach, mindfulness practice, body scan, yoga, simple yoga,

When you work muscles at the gym, you're doing those exercises to strengthen muscles that you use throughout your day-to-day life.

Most people aren't doing crunches and bench presses at work. But you want to make sure your abs and biceps are strong enough to use WHEN YOU NEED THEM.

Mindfulness exercises work the same way.

Mindfulness exercises help you build skills to use WHEN YOU NEED THEM (ex: times of stress, when feeling emotional, when deciding whether you're hungry or full, etc.)

Jon Kabat-Zinn (founder of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction) defines mindfulness as paying attention to the present moment without judgement and on purpose.

Just seeing/hearing these words makes me happy.

✨Paying attention to the present moment: Isn't that what makes life wonderful? When we take the time to notice it?

✨Without judgment: This is HUGE. I am constantly reminding myself to just let. things. be. Exactly as they are. Neutrally. Objectively.

We live in a world where we automatically assign preferences, labels, and value to events, fashion choices, body sizes, interests, and decisions.

There's nothing wrong with having opinions, but it's worth checking in with ourselves and noting the times where we're placing judgment on a situation rather than simply being with what is.

✨On purpose: It's easy to live life on autopilot. Especially the parts of our day we do routinely like brushing our teeth, eating breakfast, and driving to work.

But choosing to be mindful in these moments is a conscious act. A choice to be aware.

In the blog post below you'll learn about my 5 favorite mindfulness activities of all time!


Square Breathing

This is the mindfulness exercise I use the most. Because you can breathe ANYWHERE. It’s discreet and super effective at helping your nervous system return to equilibrium ot quieting an active mind before bed.

Square breathing is this: Inhale for 4 seconds, HOLD for 4 seconds, Exhale for 4 seconds, Hold for 4 seconds. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

I find that by holding my breath the top of my inhale and bottom of my exhale, I stay more present and connected to my breath than if I was just breathing in an out.

I will also tap my index finger 4 times to help me keep a steady beat and to give my attention another focal point.

This technique is especially useful when you are feeling dysregulated or shaken. I also use it whenever I need to center myself (before an audition, interview, or difficult conversation).


Body Scan

Not gonna lie, one of the main reasons I love body scans is because you get to do them laying down, cozy and in bed.

A body scan is when you scan your attention through your body - often starting at your toes and working your way up to your head.

You can guide yourself through a body scan, but I prefer to listen to a guided meditation.

When someone is leading me through a body scan I’m able to relax more and get less distracted.

Want to give it a try?

Download this body scan that I wrote and recorded just for YOU! It’s 13 minutes long which is enough time to slowly move through your whole body, but short enough that you can fit it in right before bed no problem!


Five senses exercise

One of the quickest and easiest ways to bring more mindfulness into your life is by paying attention to the world around you via your five senses.

My favorite place to do this is outside (there tend to be more stimuli than indoors).

You can do this anywhere, even if you're surrounded by people or bustling traffic.

Bring your awareness to the present moment and notice:

✨What do you FEEL? A breeze? Sunshine? Cold? Warmth?

✨What do you HEAR? The birds? Cars? Leaves rustling?

✨What do you SEE? Look at and name specific sights.

✨What do you SMELL? The local bakery next door? The flowers in your garden?

✨What do you TASTE? Maybe it's nothing. Or maybe you're chewing gum or eating lunch.

I do this exercise ALL THE TIME.

Especially if I arrive somewhere early and I'm waiting to meet up with a friend. I'll find a seat on the curb and just take two minutes to slow down and NOTICE the present moment.


Loving Kindness Meditation

I first learned about loving-kindness meditation at Naropa University where I went to graduate school. We actually took two classes specifically on meditation as part of our coursework. Incredible!

Loving-kindness meditation is a beautiful heart-opener. It’s a way to cultivate compassion and kindness in your heart. I think this one is particularly potent when done in the morning as part of your quiet time or centering.

mindfulness, meditation, mindfulness practice, body image, intuitive eating, intuitive eating coach, mindfulness practice, body scan, yoga, simple yoga,

Loving-kindness meditation is done by repeating certain phrases - well wishes - about oneself, loved ones, and the world at large.

There are different variations of loving-kindness meditation. Some guide you in extending your love to someone you’re in conflict with. Some have more loving phrases than others.

Here’s an example of a loving-kindness meditation flow!

  • First, extend the loving-kindness to yourself. Repeat these phrases in your mind or out loud as you sit and fill with compassion towards yourself.

May I be happy.

May I be free.

May I be healthy.

May I live with ease.

May I be safe.

Cycle through these phrases a few times.

  • Next, bring to mind a close friend or family member. Someone you love dearly. Bring an image of them into your mind and begin offering the loving-kindness affirmations to your loved one.

May you be happy.

May you be free.

May you be healthy.

May you live with ease.

May you be safe.

  • You’ll now move on to a stranger or a neutral person in your life. This could be your postman, the woman who was at the cash register last night, or even someone you passed on the street. Bring an image of them to your mind and offer them the loving-kindness affirmations.

May you be happy.

May you be free.

May you be healthy.

May you live with ease.

May you be safe.

  • Lastly, you’re going to extend this love and compassion to the world at large. Some people imagine the world in their mind or scan across the globe in their mind’s eye. Find what works for you.

May all beings be happy.

May all beings be free.

May all beings be healthy.

May all beings live with ease.

May all beings be safe.

That’s it! You’ve successfully completed a loving-kindness meditation.

I can’t recommend this practice highly enough.


Simple Yoga Sequence

My other favorite way to bring more mindfulness into my life is via yoga. For me, yoga is a spiritual practice.

Occasionally I’ll enjoy breaking a sweat or feeling a burn, but for me, yoga is about connecting to my body and quieting my mind.

A yoga sequence I particularly enjoy is called “Sun Salutation.” Although there's variety in what sun salutations include, for the most part, they follow a repeatable flow of similar movements.

I love doing a few sun salutations to wake up my body in the morning or release tension at night.

Here’s a video that will guide you through traditional sun salutations at home!

If you want a version without lunges, Jessamyn Stanley (a big name in the body positive movement) has a video you can follow along with!


You now have FIVE new ways to incorporate mindfulness into your life.

Which one will you try first?

Don't forget you get access to my original, guided body scan right now!

Download it, hop in bed, and relaxxxxx. ♥



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