Mindfulness practices have been getting a lot of attention in the media lately, and in our hustling, bustling world, it’s easy to see why: There is such value in taking a moment to ground yourself.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation- it serves to calm our minds and restore balance. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, anytime (be it as a lifestyle, for 30 minutes, or even just a handful of seconds).

I’ve put together a list of 5 mindfulness techniques that I use all the time- and they all take about a minute. You can practice these to relieve stress and anxiety and restore the focus to your body and your surroundings. They’re also great techniques to simply become more aware of the life that’s unfolding around you, which can feel really healing and positive.

Here they are:

1. Feel your Breath

Take a moment to notice your breath. It helps to be sitting for this one, but you can also do it while walking. Breathe deeply in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Notice how your breath enters your body cool, and exits warm. Feel your breath deep down into your belly- notice how it raises your tummy and torso with each gentle breath in, and lowers them as you breathe slowly out.

Count your breath. If you’re experiencing anxiety, a powerful count is 4-7-8 breathing. Breath in for 4 seconds. Hold your breath for 7 seconds. Release your breath for 8 seconds. Repeat.

2. The 5,4,3,2,1 Senses

This is a great grounding practice to bring your thoughts and attention to your immediate surroundings by focusing on your senses. Count -down from five with your senses.

Look for 5 things that you can see. This might be a droplet of rain, the grey rim of clouds- any five things. Next, feel for things you are touching or sensing (for example- you feel your feet planted firmly on the ground, or your hair tickling your neck). Then, listen for things you can hear. Notice things you can smell. Finally, attend to thing you can taste. 

3. Mindful Gratitute

This one is easy: Make a list of 5 things that you’re grateful for that you wouldn’t usually consider. (Is it that phone call to your mom last night? Maybe the corgi butt you saw from the bus today?). You can write them down in a notepad, or simply make the list in your head. If you can list more than five, that’s even better.

4. Practice a Body Scan

Practice this wherever you like. A chair, or lying down on a couch or bed, is a good place to start. The point of this practice is simply to be aware- to focus your mind on each part of your body in turn.

Many people start by focusing on their breath. Breathe deeply and calmly in and out. Picture your breath flowing to each part of your body.

Start with your lower abdomen, and feel your breath flow from the center of your body down your legs, to the tips of your toes… feel it spread down your arms and to your fingers. Feel it relax your face, neck, and back. Focus on intentionally relaxing each part of your body one at a time, using the image of your breath as a guide.

5. Choose an Object to Focus On

This is pretty self- explanatory. Focus on any natural object in your field of view and really notice it. Pay attention to it’s curves and edges, its colours, how it makes you feel… etc.

Explore the object visually and try to allow all of your concentration and attention to flow on the object for as long as you can/ choose. You could focus on the sky, the clouds, a single blade of grass- anything you choose.

I hope you find these practices helpful! Have any other strategies? Comment below!


The views expressed in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the University of Victoria. I monitor posts and comments to ensure all content complies with the University of Victoria Guidelines on Blogging.