Five Minutes of Mindfulness

Why not try something new to stimulate your senses and take 5 minutes out of your day to have some you time and just chill out! We look at a few strategies to help keep the peace in flow over this busy period.

  • Posted Wed, Apr 20, 2022 9:25 AM

Exam period is a stressful time to say the least. Deadlines seem to be only days away, exams on the horizon and worries on career planning or what to do in summer become constant and won't let your mind have 5 minutes, so here's a few ideas to keep your head cool!

Meditation, Tai Chi and Yoga

As a student it can be difficult enough to haul yourself out of bed in the morning, get motivated and have a productive day while taking care of every other little thing that needs doing as part of life at university. It's often hard to take 5 - 10 minutes away in the morning or during the day to try a holistic and physical approach to mindfulness. If you can manage this however, whether it be at home on your commute to work or uni or at the end of the day, then here are some of the best practices you can follow:

Yoga - Possibly the most famous method of movement that incites relaxation and mindfulness, Yoga is an ancient practice and is great for anyone even complete beginners to improve body movement, breathing technique and focus.

Tai Chi - Tai Chi is maybe not as well covered as Yoga but offers similar benefits. While much of Tai Chi is practised while standing up, the simple and slow movements used help balance the mind and body. Tai Chi focuses on the channeling of Chi/Qi energy which is a large part of traditional Chinese Medicine.

Chi/Qi energy: Chi/Qi is your life force, the energy that flows through you and through everything. 

Meditation: Meditation presents itself in many forms, at its core it is about aiming to reach place in which your mind is free from distraction, worry or concern. Meditation can be used to focus the mind and body and channel breathing to both calm the mind and ready it for certain tasks - particularly useful at university where you could perhaps meditate before an exam or stressful coursework project.

Journaling: Journaling is an alternative form of meditation and can be can be a particularly helpful meditation practice for times when you are struggling to quiet your mind. Journaling can give you space to write down your thoughts or worries instead of trying to keep them all in your head!

The Power of Nature

We've all been there, "you need to go for a walk to boost your mental health" - it's surprising how easy it is to stay at home all day when you don't have lectures, work or other commitments. It's important to try and get out at least once a day not only for exercise but just to get some fresh air and give your body some movement and sensory awareness that can be beneficial to not just your physical health but also your mental wellbeing.

As much as Portsmouth is a busy city, the amount of green space on offer is fantastic and plentiful from the harbour, the beach or the parks! It's certainly worth your while heading down to the seafront, Victoria park, Canoe Lake or Southsea Common if you get some time in the day where you could use one of the seemingly endless benches that have amazing views over the solent to soak it all in. Have a breather and some time for peace and self reflection while surrounded by the sounds and sights Portsmouth has to offer.

"Oh to be by the Sea" - well you are, use it! 

Relaxing Playlists and ASMR

The best thing about music is that you can practically listen to it anywhere, the main streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music all have entire sections dedicated to the pursuit of mindfulness and relaxation and are often accompanied with student discounts for subscription based services such as Headspace. Be it gentle oriental notes to the sounds of the forest and falling water or light piano melodies that could practically send you to sleep, it is well worth creating a playlist of your own and investing in some earphones so you can relax to music either at home or while at uni!

ASMR (which stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) has been around since the early 2010s. The main point of ASMR is to create a reaction to sound and textures that creates a feeling of relaxation through the means of either listening to an ASMR soundtrack or watching an ASMR video. There are ASMR videos for every type of relaxation trigger or interest so if you know a sound that you find particularly relaxing or a material or texture that you enjoy being tapped, rubbed or squeezed you should certainly have a look on YouTube or a music streaming service and grab some good quality headphones to take 5 minutes and relax.

Sense for your Senses

Picture it, its been a busy day, you've just started the 100th page of your textbook reading or have finally clocked the last 500 words on your essay and you need to sleep or take a break but you can't. 

Sometimes, the most simple things in life can be big relaxers and refreshers actions that trigger reactions from our senses can make us feel different ways or hit a subconscious 'refresh button' to let us take a new perspective or continue on with our day. You wouldn't think it but taking a shower or hot bath can be one of the best ways to relax, why not add a bath bomb, shower bomb or scented candle to the mix and treat yourself.

Try and ease yourself from the constant buzzing and notification bells of your phone and other devices that emit blue light. Perhaps, just before bed put your phone on 'Do Not Disturb', take a sip of hot chocolate or a mug of herbal tea and try and ease yourself from the constant buzzing and notification bells of your phone. Why not read a book, newspaper or magazine? It could be of your own interest or relevant to your studies or just simply to lie in bed and take some time to focus on your breathing and getting yourself in a position for a good night's sleep.

Coming into exam and deadline season it's important to sometimes take a step away and re-align your mind in whatever form works for you. Just 5 or 10 minutes out of your schedule could actually end up boosting your productivity and leave you feeling more energised without making a beeline for the next cup of coffee.

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