You don't need weights to build mental strength, just this eight-minute breathing workout
This short session helps reduce stress and improves your wellbeing, and all you need is a few minutes and a place to sit
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Building physical strength is essential as it helps make everyday tasks like lifting that much easier. But it's just as important to develop mental strength, too. Fortunately, it takes less than 10 minutes and requires no equipment – all you need is your breath.
It's not a replacement for working out with a set of the best adjustable dumbbells, but building mental strength (sometimes known as resilience) is one of the key reasons people learn how to meditate. Often the critical focus is on developing an awareness of your breath to bring you back to the present moment.
That's a central part of this eight-minute routine from yoga instructor Adriene Mishler, known for her popular YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene (opens in new tab). If you've not tried meditation or breathing exercises before, that's okay. Mishler says, "This is a meditation for everyone, no experience necessary."
It's worth popping in a set of the best workout earbuds as Mishler guides you through the session, taking you through a short breath-focused meditation designed to help reduce stress, improve resilience, build mental strength, and bring some mindfulness into your day.
All you need is a few moments to spare and somewhere quiet to sit. You'll come across many meditation videos where the instructor is on a cushion or a yoga mat, but you can take a seat wherever you feel comfortable so long as you won't be disturbed for around 10 minutes.
Watch Yoga with Adriene's breathing workout
Because you don't need any equipment and many sessions are available for free, meditation is one of the best low-cost self care ideas around. There are many types of meditation, and one of the most popular is mindfulness meditation, where you focus on your breath to become aware of the present.
At first, you might worry that you can't clear your mind of thoughts and keep a laser focus on your breath. That's okay because the goal of meditation isn't to let go of all thoughts but to become aware of them. You can return your focus to your breath when you notice you've been caught up in thought.
If you're interested in trying out a session or have experimented with a few but have questions, these meditation tips for beginners should help ease you into the practice. And it really is a practice. Even if you meditate every day, your mind can become busy and distracted. Meditation helps you notice that distraction.
But meditation is just one way to develop mindfulness or awareness of the present moment. If you find sitting meditation isn't right for you, consider heading outside for some mindful walking. This involves noticing the space around you and how your body feels as you move.
It's good to build mental strength, but sometimes you'd rather reach for one of the best kettlebells and work out. If you like short, effective exercises, it's worth learning how to do a kettlebell swing. This single move works your whole body, strengthens your core, and boosts your metabolism.
James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.
In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.
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