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5 mindful habits that you can practice in 5 minutes or under

Here are quick and easy mindful habits to incorporate into your everyday routine - By Rachael Goldie

Reading time: 5 minutes

Scheduling conflicts, social obligations and a never ending to do list. Sound familiar? For many of us this has become the norm. So how do we find time to press the pause button and  allow ourselves to be truly present, even for five minutes? Here are my top five mindful habits which can be incorporated into even the most demanding of diaries.  

First, we need to actually give ourselves permission to set time aside for mindfulness. Setting a diary invite or reminder is a powerful way to hold yourself accountable to your new habit. This might seem contradictory, surely, we are trying to ease up on the diary reminders but having something written (or typed) in black and white tricks the brain into believing that it is already true. 

Now that we have set aside some precious time the next question is, what are we going to do with it? 

I have laid out my personal top five habits and the benefits you can gain from them. These are habits which have become non-negotiables in my own life, perhaps you will find one which inspires you to do the same. 

Number One- Get some fresh air.

Taking a few minutes between meetings, first this in the morning or any time of day that you need a mood boost to step outside does wonders for your overall health. I prefer to get outside within an hour of waking up, as morning light has wonderful health benefits. Research has shown that stepping outside first thing (even popping your head into the garden will do) resets your body clock and can help with regulating hormones which become disturbed during sleep. If first thing in the morning isn't doable then taking the time at another point in the day will still help to lift your mood. Recent findings suggest that being out in nature helps to kick start your immune system. So, the leafier you can make this fresh air break the better. If you are already regularly getting outside during the day try and bring awareness to all five of your senses. This will help anchor you to the present moment, which in turn will help alleviate stress.  

Number Two- Deep Breathing Practice 

My favourite breathing technique is the 4-6-4 counted breath. I have used this in times of stress, anxiety or when I am having trouble falling asleep. The power of it is in its simplicity. Inhale for four counts, exhale for six, inhale for four. Repeat this three times and then gently let your breath return to normal. The best part about this technique is that you can do it on your commute or in a meeting and no-one will be any the wiser.  

Number Three - Stop to Stretch 

As a society we spend a lot of our time sitting, and usually not sitting very comfortably. If you don't have time to attend a full 60-minute yoga class, then these simple stretches will help you incorporate some mindful movement into your day.  

Stretch your arms up and over head, clasp your hands and turn the palms to the ceiling. On your exhale stretch to one side. Inhale, bring your hands back up, exhale to the opposite side. 

If you are in a chair, turn your body to one side, place your hand or forearm on the back of the chair. On an exhale gently twist your body so that your gaze is towards your back shoulder. 

Sitting tall, drop your shoulders away from your ears. Let your chin drop towards your chest. Roll your head to the left, to the right and then back to the middle slowly bringing your head back up to its natural position.  

Of course, these are just a few suggestions, but like our breathing technique they can be completed quite inconspicuously. 

Number Four: Gratitude Journaling 

This habit is one of the simpler practices and yet people find it the hardest to fit into their routine. I find that journaling as I wake up or just before going to sleep has the most benefits.  

If you aren't sure where to start, I suggest picking 1-3 things that you have been grateful for that day and jotting them down in a notebook with the date above. Typing them out is also an option but the physical act of writing seems to make the words hold more meaning. When I have the time, I write three things in the morning and also include my energy levels and my overall mood. I will then repeat in the evening and compare. The more honest you are with yourself the better. If we have had a bad day, it can be hard to think that we have anything to be thankful for, so why not look back over previous days entries for an instant gratitude lift.  

Number Five: Self Care 

Five minutes doesn't seem like a long time to conduct a little bit of pampering but setting time aside for this habit can make even five minutes feel luxurious.  

I personally love taking care of my skin but don't have the patience for a 12-step routine. I find that one to two minutes of cool facial bathing (I've built up my courage and now use ice water in a large bowl) followed by moisturising with my favourite day cream is enough to leave me feeling refreshed and ready to face, mind the pun, the day ahead.  

I hope that you can take one thing from these five habits to help your own day feel a little bit more mindful. Allow yourself a few moments each day to pause and check in with yourself and you will soon notice the impact on your overall well-being. So, take five minutes and give them back to you. 





Rachael Goldie

Yoga teacher, well-being trainer and meditation guide currently based in London.