These mindfulness meditation exercises won't take long, but they could really improve your mood for the whole day
- Focus on your breathing. Sit down somewhere quiet and concentrate on taking deep, slow breaths for a minute or two. Let each round of in and out breaths last roughly six seconds, or whatever feels comfortable. Imagine it filling up your lungs and try to let go of any other thoughts or concerns for this brief window of time.
- Choose something natural - whether that's a flower, a leaf, an insect or even the moon - to concentrate on for a minute. Look at it as if for the first time. Take in all of its details, the subtlety of its colours and anything you usually fail to notice in your busy life. This will not only make your head feel clearer, but you'll also feel calmer and more connected to nature. Bliss!
- Take a mundane action - from setting your alarm clock at night to opening your bedroom door in the morning - and actually focus on what you're doing, rather than going on 'autopilot'. Feel the door handle in your hand, is it cold or stiff? Feel the resistance of the door, does it catch on the carpet? Does it creak? Take time to really notice your body moving, and everything you can hear and feel.
- Notice five objects, processes or people in your day that usually go unnoticed, and take time to appreciate them. Write them down as you go. Whether it's gratitude for the socks keeping your feet warm, the electricity powering your kettle, the mug holding your tea or the postman bringing your post - there's always something or someone you forget to notice, even on the most difficult days. Imagine your life without those people or things, and be grateful for the role they play in making your life better.