Many people are feeling more stressed, anxious and depressed because of the unpredictable world we live in caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we can control our mind, and our breath. According to Psychology Today, taking a mindfulness pause, simply savoring a moment, supports wellness in both the brain and body.

Taking a mindfulness pause is a habit that involves simply focusing your attention, with intention, and without judgement.

21 Mindfulness Moments

Even if you have never tried this kind of awareness before, it’s easy to start this healthy habit. To begin to develop this habit, pause briefly and focus your attention on where you are right now.  Here are 21 ideas to help you practice this powerful way to transform your life.

1. Pause between bites of food and savor the taste

2. Really pay attention to your experience as you wash your face or brush your teeth

3. Turn off your personal electronic devices for an hour

4. Stretch and notice the sensations in your body

5. Listen carefully with no agenda to the person speaking to you

6. For just a few breaths, observe that you are breathing – feeling the in-breath and out-breath

7. Focus your attention on what you’re doing right here, right now

8. Look around and really notice your surroundings

9. Offer someone a few positive words from your heart

10. Read an inspiring poem

11. Sing a song in the shower – just for fun

12. Observe the sunrise or sunset

13. Notice a bird singing

14. Stop for a moment and just sit or stand quietly

15. Appreciate someone in your life

16. Write a personal note of gratitude

17. Play with a child or a pet

18. Meditate

19. Notice the sounds in your environment without judgment

20. Clasp your hands together and notice the sensations

21. Listen to music

“Healthy anxiety calls us into action to be safe, to take care of the people that we love and to be in the present moment with intention and resilience,” says Kristin Lothman, a mind-body counselor with Mayo Clinic’s Department of Integrative Medicine and Health.

“There are many strategies to manage anxiety,” Lothman says. “I recommend developing a self-care practice. Elements of that could include journaling, exercise, art, yoga, meditation and practicing mindfulness.”

Many of us are busy juggling myriad responsibilities, in an uncertain time. Do you have a self-care practice? If not, start a healthy habit of mindfulness today. I sang “Walking on Sunshine,” in the shower this morning. How are you going to start?

By Lucy Flinn