If your thoughts are wandering during the day you can try these mindfulness exercises to refocus your awareness back to the here and now.
- Experience the present moment through your five senses – take notice of the touch of a door handle, the smell of grass, the sound of birds singing, the colour of the sky, the taste of ice-cream. This practice can help to increase awareness of your surroundings and what’s happening right now.
- Do an everyday task mindfully – like brushing your teeth or washing up. Instead of letting your mind drift, focus completely on the task. Experience the sensation of water on your hands, notice the scent of the washing up liquid, listen to the trickle of water from the tap, feel the smoothness of the plates.
- Go for a mindful walk outside – listen to noises around you: can you hear people, traffic or birds? Look at any buildings you pass: are they houses, offices or shops? How warm or cold is it outside? Is the sun shining?
- Eat something mindfully – such as a small piece of chocolate, a nut or sultana. Start by looking at it: notice its size, shape and colour. How does it smell or feel in your fingers? Close your eyes if it helps you be more aware. Put it in your mouth and notice how it feels: is it hard or soft, dry or wet? Does it change as you hold it in your mouth? Can you taste it? Chew it mindfully, noticing the flavour and textures, before you swallow.
- Take five breaths slowly, focusing fully as you breathe in and breathe out each time – where can you feel your breath in your body? Do you notice your stomach rising and falling – putting your hand there can help.
- Try a creative activity – there are lots of activities that you can focus on mindfully. Notice what your hands are doing and how it feels hold a paintbrush, pen, scissors or spoon. Can you smell anything? What colours can you see? Think about the steps in your activity – like a recipe for a cake or instructions for knitting.
If you start to be distracted by your thoughts while practising mindfulness – just notice and be aware of them without letting your mind wander.