Mindful Exercises That Help You Take Care Of Yourself

Updated March 10, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Mindfulness has many benefits, and one of them is helping you practice good self-care. It’s essential to prioritize your needs. Good care means evaluating what you want and need and giving it to yourself. It’s crucial to take care of yourself; we all know this, but how often do we practice it?

Part of self-care is taking care of your body. Another component is making your mental health a priority. Mindfulness is an excellent practice in which you take care of yourself by incorporating mindful exercises into your daily life. Here are some mindful exercises to get you started.

Mindfulness Is A Skill That Can Take Time To Master

Self-Compassion Exercise

We care deeply for our loved ones, and we make an effort to be there for them. Sometimes, however, you forget to take care of yourself. When you see a therapist, they will tell you how crucial self-compassion is. That doesn’t mean feeling sorry for yourself. Self-compassion is about treating yourself as you would someone you care about a lot. When you’re suffering, take a moment and practice these steps:

  1. Identify the emotion you’re feeling.

  2. Talk to yourself as you would a close friend. For example: “I’m sorry that you’re hurting.” You can say this sentiment aloud or in your mind.

  3. Lastly, say aloud or in your mind, “Even though I feel ___, I love and accept myself as I am.”

Self-compassion exercises can help you understand that you’re human and have painful moments. It’s okay to nurture yourself. One of the best ways to take care of yourself is to be gentle when you’re hurting.

Mindful Posture And Body Awareness

When you’re caught up in an everyday routine, you may forget to pay attention to things like how you stand or your posture. Stress can cause you to slouch or tense your muscles. One mindfulness exercise you can practice is improving your posture. It’s a simple self-care tip you can practice anywhere. Whether you’re commuting to work by car, by train, or by walking, you can remind yourself to stand up straight. Improving your posture relieves tension in the body, makes you feel more confident, and is good for your overall health.

You can also focus on body awareness and pay close attention to the parts of your being that need some care. Maybe you struggle with neck pain or lower back issues. You can target your attention toward these problem areas. In addition to improving your posture, try practicing gentle yoga. It’s a great way to stretch your body as well as promote relaxation. A simple way to increase self-care and body awareness is to yawn and stretch for 10 seconds each hour. You’re giving your body and mind a break when you do that.

Mindful Eating

Healthy eating is part of an overall wellness plan. However, eating well is only part of being well. One way to enhance your nourishment is to practice mindful eating. Before you take a bite, look at the colors on your plate. Once you’ve observed what’s on your plate, you can begin to eat. That means taking the time to chew your food slowly. Take some time to taste each bite of your meal in your mouth. Notice the different textures of your food and the way they feel on your tongue. Eating can be a mindfulness exercise.

There’s a classic mindfulness exercise called the raisin meditation. You take a raisin and feel it in between your fingers. Notice the texture and color. You slowly observe it while you put it into your mouth. Savor the raisin slowly and mindfully eat it. You can do this with any food. When you practice mindful eating, you’re making a conscious effort to nourish your body and mind. You’re not rushing to finish your plate, but rather being present in the moment.

Mindful Gratitude

Gratitude and mindfulness are interconnected, according to mindful therapy. We say thank you many times a day. When you go to the store, you thank the clerk for your change or giving you a receipt. You say thank you when the mail carrier delivers the mail. Sometimes you say thank you without thinking about it. Instead of mindlessly expressing gratitude, pay attention before you thank someone. Think about what you appreciate about them and their actions. You can articulately express your gratitude. Instead of just saying “thanks” or “thank you,” say what you are thankful for to the individual. It enriches the experience of gratitude. For example, if your partner does the dishes, you can say, “Thank you for taking care of the dishes. It’s a relief.” You can say how the person made you feel when they did something.

Another thing you can do is write a gratitude list. Write down ten things you’re grateful for and read them aloud or to yourself. This can improve your mood and your outlook on life.

Mindful Parenting

When you’re a parent, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by your feelings and your kids’ emotions. Before you care for your children, you need to be grounded in your own emotions. It’s part of taking good care of you. It’s crucial to have emotional insight and an understanding of your behavior so you can be compassionate toward your kids. When you practice emotional control, you can develop the skills and teach them to your children. That’s a crucial part of mindful parenting.

If you’re under a lot of stress, burnt out, or angry about things going on in your life, you’re not going to be emotionally available to your child. That’s why practicing self-care, learning emotional control, and learning mindful skills can help you with mindful parenting. You don’t have to be a perfect mom or dad—perfection and parenting don’t generally go together. There will be good and bad days as a parent. The key to mindful parenting is to be present in the moment and attend to your child’s needs.

If your son is having a tantrum, let him feel his feelings. It’s okay to validate his emotions. Let him know that you understand he’s upset, and that’s hard. But, if you’ve drawn a boundary and said “no” to what he’s asking, all you need to do is be there. You can hold him while he cries or asks him what he needs from you. Being present is the most important part of mindful parenting.

Another aspect of mindful parenting is non-judgmental communication. Your child’s feelings are valid, as are yours. Make sure you take a beat before responding to their emotions. It’s okay to take a moment before responding. Silence isn’t a bad thing. You can also take a step out of the room if that’s what you need. Mindful parenting takes practice, but it can improve your sense of self and your relationship with your kids.

Mindfulness Is A Skill That Can Take Time To Master

Mindful Sensory Awareness

Sensory awareness is an effective form of mindfulness. When you pay attention to what you perceive, it positively activates your mind and body. There’s a simple sensory awareness exercise that can help you calm down when you’re feeling anxious. Notice five things around the room (or wherever you are) that you can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.

For example, let’s say you’re eating in a restaurant. It’s causing you anxiety because it’s crowded with people. You’re starting to panic, but you can do something to stop it. Practice mindful sensory awareness. You hear people talking, you see the red walls, you smell the scent of baking bread, you touch the soft napkins on the table, and you taste a bite of your salmon. That exercise engaged all five of your senses, and you are diverted from feeling the intense level of anxiety you were experiencing. It may help to state the objects aloud. Sensory awareness is a significant part of mindfulness, and it can help you ground yourself in times of distress.

Practicing Mindfulness Exercises In Therapy

Mindfulness is a skill that takes time to master, and you may want to work on it with a skilled mental health professional. An online therapist can show you some simple mindfulness practices that will nurture your body and mind. The counselors at BetterHelp are dedicated to showing clients the best ways to care for their wellbeing. They do so at a time convenient to your schedule—and you don't need to commute to the therapist's office. You can meet anywhere you have an internet connection.

Online therapy has helped many people relieve their stress and learn new ways of coping with the challenges of daily living. In some cases, online therapy can be more effective than in-person therapy. 

Mindfulness exercises can be a great addition to self-care. Whether you’re paying attention to your body’s tension or focusing on being a better parent, mindfulness has many advantages. Practicing these exercises doesn’t have to be complicated. You can do them whenever you have the time and energy. Consider talking to a therapist to learn how mindfulness can help you.

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