There are lots of mindfulness exercises which can help calm you and allow you to become more present in the moment. This can be especially useful at times when you might be feeling stressed, anxious or ‘not really here’ for whatever reason.
I like to think of exercises like this as things you can have in your own personal ‘toolkit’ of resources, to draw upon if and when you feel the need.
One of my favourites is 5,4,3,2,1… which you do as follows:
- 5 – Notice 5 things you can see (for me, right now, it’s tree, car, door, key, table)
- 4 – Notice 4 things you can hear (for me, right now, it’s birdsong, moving car, breeze and ticking clock)
- 3 – Touch 3 things with different textures (for me, right now, it’s smooth laptop, denim jeans, soft cushion)
- 2 – Smell 2 things (for me, right now, it’s coffee and moisturiser)
- 1 – Finally take 1 slow, deep breath.
Why not give it a go wherever you are and see how it feels for you?
Did you notice that you became more alert to your surroundings? Did it serve to slow you down and bring you into the moment? Maybe it had no effect at all for you right then but might be something that you could see yourself coming back to at a later point.
If the 5,4,3,2,1 structure seems too complicated then feel free to substitute it for a 2,2,2,2,2 structure. Or you may want to write it on a wallet sized piece of paper so you can keep it with you to use whenever the need may arise.
If you have any favourite mindful exercises I’d love to know what they are!