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National Relaxation Day is August 15: Try These Two Mindfulness Exercises!

Mindfulness exercises let you “tune in” to yourself. Distractions are let go, and your brainpower is increased. The exercises help you think more clearly and concentrate better. The best news is that they are easier than you might think to learn!

Self Reflection Exercise

Anytime you are stressed, stop, and carefully watch yourself to identify what’s bothering you. You may be expecting something bad to happen, perhaps there is an argument going on just below the surface of your consciousness, or you’re worried about something, or in pain in some way. Notice everything you can.

This self-observation is crucial. It will get easier as you do it more. You’ll start to realize just how many things are going on in your own head, distracting you.

Now deal with these mind-irritants. Make the phone call that’s on your mind, take an aspirin, apologize to whomever you were fighting with. You can write things on tomorrow’s to-do list to get them off your mind. If there’s nothing you can do right now to resolve a problem, tell yourself that. When you do this exercise, you’ll feel less stressed, and more able to focus on your tasks.

Senses Exercise

Sit down, relax and breath deeply through your nose. Let your eyes close and be aware of your breath going in and out. Move your attention to your body, one part at a time, noting sensations of cold, hot, tight, sore and anything else you identify. After a few minutes, start listening to sounds in the room, without thinking about them. Just listen, while still maintaining an awareness of your body and your breath.

In ten minutes or so, or when it feels right, open your eyes and look around as if you are seeing for the first time. Let your eyes rest on an object for half a minute, examining it without talking about it in your mind. Then move to another object, and another, while still maintaining an awareness of your body, your breathing, and any sounds. Just stay in this state of mindfulness for a few minutes, until you are ready to get up.

When you are aware of your body, breath, and immediate environment, you are more fully “in the moment.” Your mind is in a receptive state, with fewer mental distractions that can prevent clear thinking. An exercise like this before important mental tasks will give you greater brain power, specifically more focus and concentration.