A person with a light skin tone and long, blonde hair sits in an armchair, their legs folded up and feet on the seat, as they close their eyes and drink from a grey mug.
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Mindfulness practice has been well researched and found to bring many benefits, including reducing stress levels. Studies show that practices like mindfulness meditation can lower stress hormones (known as cortisol), improve mental wellbeing, and even boost mental abilities and emotional balance.

For more information about mindfulness, including free local courses, visit Leeds Mindfulness Co-op. Mind also has information to help you decide if mindfulness is right for you.

5 minute mindful activity

An easy mindfulness activity that anyone can practice is the “Five Senses” exercise. Here’s how it works:

  1. Find a comfortable and quiet space where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes.
  2. Take a few slow, deep breaths and bring your focus to the present moment.
  3. Begin by noticing five things you can see around you. Pay attention to colours, shapes, textures, and any other details.
  4. Then, shift your attention to four things you can feel. It could be the sensation of your feet on the ground, the texture of your clothing, or the warmth of the air against your skin.
  5. Next, become aware of three things you can hear. Listen closely to sounds in your environment, whether it’s the noise of a washing machine, birds chirping outside, or the sound of your own breath.
  6. After that, focus on two things you can smell. Take a deep breath and notice any scents in the air, whether it’s the aroma of food cooking nearby, fresh flowers, or a familiar fragrance.
  7. Finally, pay attention to one thing you can taste. If you have a drink or snack nearby, take a small sip or bite and fully experience the taste and texture.
  8. Take a moment to reflect on how you feel before going back to your day.

If you cannot use one or more of your senses, simply spend longer enjoying the senses you can use.

This exercise helps to bring your attention to the present moment by using all of your senses and shifting your focus away from racing thoughts or worries. It can be done anytime, anywhere, and only takes a few minutes to complete.

For more ideas on how to use your senses, why not explore our sensory comfort kit.