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mindful UT is a resource for mindfulness-related opportunities and programs at UT Austin

Mindful Moments

Sometimes, we get so caught up in the business of our days that we forget to take time for ourselves. While many people think mindfulness takes too much time, it can be completed in as little as thirty seconds. Incorporate these guided mindful moments into your day. The options range from thirty seconds to ten minutes.

student eating lunch

Food is a pleasure in life, but we often forget to take the time to enjoy what we’re eating. Use these guided practices to be mindful, whether you’re eating a meal or a quick snack.

Begin your meal by closing your eyes and thinking about your gratitude for your food.

Take a moment to reflect on the ingredients it has, think about how this food traveled to get to you and appreciate the people who made your food. Express gratitude and acknowledge the food which found its way to your plate. If you're not alone, consider sharing your gratitude with your tablemates. Have a wonderful meal!

Take a mouthful/morsel of food and notice its qualities. Reflect on what it looks like - the texture, color and appearance.

Now, reflect on what your meal smells like. What do you notice?

Place the morsel in your mouth. Try to chew/taste with intention and deliberation. Try to eat this bite as slowly as possible. What textures and flavors do you notice? What other sensations does this elicit within you? Chew this food until it's completely swallowed. When your mouth is empty, take your next bite.

Here are few quick and simple things you can do throughout your meal to help you stay present and mindful while you eat.

First, reflect on how you feel before you eat. Are you hungry? How do you feel about the food in front of you?

Throughout the meal, put your utensils down between every bite. Take time to consider how you feel before picking up your utensils again.

Reflect on how you're feeling mid-way through your meal. Hungry? Getting full? Enjoying the food?

Be conscious of your hunger cues throughout your meal. Listen to your stomach. Know when you're full and stop eating. Once you've decided your meal is over, reflect on your gratitude for the meal.

students walking

It is easy to tune out the world around you while moving where you need to be. Here are some mindfulness practices that you can incorporate while transitioning from place to place.

For this exercise, as you continue making your daily walk to your class, home, or other destination, take a moment to focus on the senses you are experiencing as you walk. It is easy for our minds to go on autopilot when we are walking our daily routes which can lead to a “spaced out” walking experience. For this exercise, focus on the small details of the world around you that you might not have noticed before. Bring your attention to new sounds you hear, fragrances you smell and things you see. Whether you notice something you’ve noticed before or something completely new, express gratitude for this new notice!

Music can be a powerful tool to help you regain focus. Choose one song that you would like to listen to and put in your headphones to start listening. While the song is playing, try to focus only on the sounds you hear, the voice of the artist, a single instrument or the background vocals. Notice your thoughts if they start to wander. Center your thoughts back to the music and try to keep focus on the sounds you hear for the entire duration of the song.

This grounding exercise can help you find a little peace on a difficult day, or any day!

Look around and notice five things you can see. What colors are they? Are they relatively large or small objects? Notice the textures, patterns and unique designs.

Now, focus on your sense of touch. Notice four things you can feel. Do they feel sharp, soft, itchy, rough?

Next, pay attention to the sounds around you. What are three sounds you noticed? Take the time to focus on these sounds and fully hear them.

Now, focus on your sense of smell. What scents do you notice around you? What are your thoughts on these scents?

Lastly, what is one thing you can taste? Think about the previous questions. What do you notice? What are your associations with these tastes?

student studying

Need a study break? These mindful moments will help you calm your mind and return to your work with a clear headspace.

For this exercise, take out a piece of paper and write down anything that comes to your mind at this moment. Try not to think about it too intensely. After you've taken a couple of seconds to jot down what's on your mind, take a few moments with your eyes open or closed and feel the ground under your feet. Take a deep breath. You've got this.

It can be easy to feel jittery or unfocused while studying. Try this exercise to help you ground yourself.

Sit up straight in your chair and place both feet flat on the ground. Take a few moments to notice how the balls and heels of your feet feel. Bring your full attention to these parts of your body.

Next, take a deep breath in for about 8 seconds, inhaling for 5 counts and exhaling for 4 counts.

Notice how you're feeling. Bring your attention back to your surroundings and breathe normally. You're doing amazing.

Studying can feel overwhelming at times. This exercise can help you step back and focus your mind.

Step away from your work area and walk to a window that lets you look outside into the world. Observe the colors and textures you see outside, trying not to label objects that you see. Notice the small movements in the grass or the texture of the leaves in the trees. If you start getting distracted, try to focus your mind back to the window. Try noticing a new texture or color to center you back in.

Spend 5-10 minutes looking out the window, focusing only on what you see.

When you're ready to come back. Bring your mind back to your present setting and take a few deep breaths. Return to your work with a more focused mind.

Share your feedback on the Mindful Moments! It takes less than a minute and helps us immensely. Thank you!


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