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Mental Health

3 Mindfulness Exercises You Can Do From Home and In 5 Minutes

According to Mayo Clinic, mindfulness and meditation are incredibly helpful techniques that can improve stress, anxiety, pain, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure. It can also help with general focus, attention, mood, and well-being. Mindfulness practices work to give you a healthier mindset in which you view the world and yourself within it by focusing heavily on the practice of reflection. 

Here are some quick and easy mindfulness techniques that can be done within your own home and in under five minutes for a quick break from the monotony of daily life. Even just five minutes out of your day dedicated to to improving your body and mind can have an incredible effect on your overall well-being and view on the world. 

The Body Scan

This activity is helpful for relaxing your body, as well as assessing your treatment and physical state of your body. In this activity you get into a comfortable position, whether that is lying down on your back or sitting. Either way, relax all parts of your body and turn your palms up at your side or resting on your legs. If you are choosing to sit, make sure that your feet are flat on the ground and that you are sitting straight and comfortably within the chair. You can also choose to close your eyes or keep them open, but if you keep them open, try to find a spot around you to fixate on to prevent your thoughts from wandering. 

Once you are comfortable and situated, focus on each part of your body, starting at your toes and moving your way up to the crown of your skull. If it helps you focus, you can also stretch, roll, or tense the part of the body that you are on. Take this time to note any discomforts, tensions, soreness, etc. that you come across in your body. Is there any part of the body that is particularly tense? How does that reflect the treatment of your body? What thoughts are you holding onto that is causing this part of your body to tense so much? For this activity, just take the time to listen to your body and release all of the pains that you are holding and let your body relax, while also making yourself aware of your body at the same time. 

Mindful Observation

This is a tip that was actually given to me by my therapist who suggested it to help with anxiety and stress. It is a common technique and helpful for anyone feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, upset, angry, or for anyone who just wants to center themselves and take in their surroundings. 


1. Note five things that you can see. 

For this, really focus on the different colors of each object. What are all the different shades within each object? How do they blend together? Are there any shadows? Focus on the shape of each object that you choose. How does each component of the object fit together? Take the time to really pick apart each object, letting your thoughts center solely on it. 

2. Note four things that you can feel. 

Really take in the specific texture of each one, and my therapist likes to recommend that you choose things that have really different textures. Focus on what makes each one unique and try to come up with as many words to describe that texture as possible. Consider what it is that makes them feel this way. 

3. Note three things that you can hear. 

Take in each sound one at a time. Where is it coming from? What is making the sound? Is it something that you can easily idenify, or do you have to guess? Are they short bursts of sound, or is it something ongoing? Is this something that you normally drown out? Think on each sound carefully and meticulously before moving on to the next one. Think about how each sound fits into the surrounding environment. 

4. Note two things that you can smell. 

What can you smell? Does it have a distinct fragrance? How are you breathing as you are taking in the smells of your surroundings? Are you breathing in deeply, using your full chest, or are you taking short, shallow breaths? Does changing the breathing technique change the scent? Are these things you normally notice, or are these things that normally fade into the background of your life? 

5. Note one thing that you can taste. 

This might be just the taste of your mouth, which sounds gross, but take the time to become aware of your own body, especially a part that you don’t normally take the time to notice. Have you eaten recently? Did you brush your teeth today? If there is no distinct taste, or even if there is, take this time to see how that reflects on your personal self-care.

Instant Journaling

Mindfulness journaling is another popular mindfulness technique, especially since it can be really helpful in organizing and reflecting on your thoughts. It is used to help you navigate through your mental state and keep in touch with your own mental awareness. Mindfulness journaling can help make this reflection a bit more concrete for people who need something physical to manifest their thoughts or need something to concentrate on. 

However, since some forms of mindfulness journaling can be kind of intimidating and very personal, that is why instant journaling can be very helpful and a good introduction to this form of mindfulness. This form involves following a short prompt and jotting the answer down on an index card that you can refer back to at any time. 

Here are some prompts to get you started: 

1. Write a short list of things that you are thankful for. 

2. What are some words that you live by? 

3. Using ten words, describe yourself. 

4. Write down something you needed to hear today. 

5. What are some words of encouragement? 

There are many more prompts to choose from and you can find some more here and here

These are just a sampling of all of the many mindfulness and meditation exercises that are out there. There are so many incredible resources available to you for free on the internet, on all media platforms. Like all activities that work towards improving mental and physical health, it is important to find what works for you and that you are comfortable doing. 

Caroline Ernst is a senior at Christopher Newport University studying English with a writing concentration and classical studies and literature as minors. She studied abroad in Rome fall semester of her junior year, where she spent her time exploring the city, Italy, and many other European cities. On campus, she works as her university's Italian tutor in their tutoring center, where she also work as a the Foreign Language Lead Tutor. In addition, she works in the writing center on campus as a writing consultant, helping students with their essays and other writings. She is a proud member of CNU's chapter of Her Campus, where she writes for their writing team and this year will take on the responsibility as Senior Editor.
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