3 mindfulness exercises for instant calm

3 mindfulness exercises for instant calm

Mindfulness has gained tremendous popularity in recent years and, like yoga, has become an integral part of our society. The effects of mindfulness have been studied very extensively over the past 20 years, and time and again it has been shown that this Buddhism-based method is very effective against stress, anxiety and discontentment.

Despite the fact that everyone is using mindfulness exercises privately or at work these days, many people find it difficult to keep up their mindfulness practice.

What is meditation?

During “standard” mindfulness training, you learn the principles of mindfulness step-by-step. The emphasis is on learning the five mindfulness meditations:

-The sitting meditation
– Walking meditation
– The body scan 
– Yoga series one
– Yoga series two

3 tips directly mindful sitting meditation

Additional explanation of the sitting meditation.

During the sitting meditation, you “watch” your thoughts and your pondering with quiet attention, without getting caught up in the talk of the thoughts. Like a sober observer, you watch your own thought process: you do not judge or intervene. You only have to note that your brain is creating thoughts because that is simply what our human brain does.

But you don’t go into the content of the thoughts: “Maybe I’ll get fired” or “My brother shouldn’t have said that to me!” are just thoughts you notice during meditation, nothing more, nothing less. If you observe your thoughts in this way, you will find that thoughts are like blanks; they come and go. They are like little children who want your attention. Once they have your sincere attention, they dissolve on their own.

Every-day mindfulness instead of long sitting

Despite the fact that meditating often gives very good results, it is not the ideal solution for everyone to create more emotional balance. Sometimes you don’t have time for it, or you feel too restless to sit still for a long time.

Fortunately, mindfulness also offers all kinds of practical exercises to quiet your busy thinking. In fact, you can also distract your thinking by not taking the often panicky content of your thoughts so seriously, and come up with a down-to-earth response to difficult situations.

But you can also distract your thinking simply by tackling tasks with full attention, such as:

cutting the vegetables for dinner
washing the dog
vacuuming your house

By focusing well on simple chores, your mind has no room to create all kinds of brooding thoughts, and your mind naturally becomes quieter!

3 tips direct more mindful every day mindfulness

As promised, I give you 3 practical mindfulness exercises to let you experience that using mindfulness does not have to be difficult, and that even without meditation you can benefit from all the good that mindfulness has to offer. Moreover, with this every-day mindfulness you will create the very healthy and lasting results you are looking for, such as:

more balance
more overview
more confidence

The 3 mindfulness exercises for immediate results

Tip 1: Accept reality as it is
Your stress is not caused by what happens in the outside world, but by your own reactions to those events. When you get stressed from a situation, remember that reality is as it is: neither good nor bad. Only your own judgment about it makes it good or bad. Are you stressing about the bridge opening when you are already late? Stressing about it will not change that situation. Keep thinking soberly and say to yourself, “It is so, I don’t have to judge it. I have been through this before and I will fix it now too once I get to my appointment.’ In doing so, you accept the situation as it is and keep your stress under control. Then take a few deep breaths in and out. On the exhale, release your tension.

Tip 2: Realize that everything passes
You can get stressed from all kinds of things:

criticism at work
your difficult relationship
Your children overstepping your boundaries
In the moment, they sometimes seem like world-class disasters. But in reality, they are nothing more than situations that will eventually pass. Next month, next season or in a few years you will look at them very differently.

Are you in a difficult period right now? Then reassure yourself with the thought “This too will pass and all will be well again. In this way, you free yourself from those negative thoughts that are weighing you down so much right now, and you can see your life and everything about it in a bigger picture. Moreover, you immediately make yourself calmer by trusting that even these less fun times will end well.

3 tips direct mindful attention

Tip 3: Pay attention to what you’re doing right now
To avoid (constantly) losing yourself in unpleasant judgments, you can choose to do a simple task a few times a day with full attention.

How do you do that?

Focus on walking or traveling for example
Choose a walk, bike ride or streetcar ride that you do every day, when you go to work or pick up the kids from school, for example.
Instead of rushing, fretting or checking your cell phone every three seconds, pay full attention to traveling.
Look around you carefully.
Take in the streets or the road. Look at the trees, houses, cars, buses, trucks.
Then also look at the people in the street or streetcar. What would be going on in their lives? They have the same desires and dreams as you have, and are going through the same setbacks.
Smile at other people and grant them your sincere attention and kindness.
Then consciously breathe in and out a few times.

By paying attention to your surroundings in this way without digital busyness or brooding, your brain has no capacity left to produce judgments: it must then occupy itself with concentrating on the trip you are undertaking. In this way, you prevent the production of harmful stress hormones in your body and give your overzealous mind a well-deserved break that will leave you feeling a lot calmer and tidier when you arrive at your destination.

Thanks to Mindfulness expert Marisa Garau & World of Yoga. 

Would you like to practice chair yoga more often? Then check out our online class package with 10 yoga classes and 1 bonus class here. No subscription but a one-time €49 with continued access so you can join them as often as you like.

Paula Jap Tjong & Annelies Bakker
Paula Jap Tjong & Annelies Bakker

We are two Dutch yogis on a mission: bringing people together in the spirit of yoga. We create online Chair Yoga classes and a teacher training certification program accessible anywhere in the world.

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We are the platform for Chair Yoga practitioners and teachers. Chair Yoga World is committed to inviting people to keep moving and relaxing regularly; a must for our well-being and vitality. We do this by facilitating all kinds of exercise and relaxation programmes.
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