Here’s How You Can Refocus Your Mind In Two Minutes Or Less

Hint: There’s more you can do beyond meditation
05/15/2017 03:10pm ET | Updated June 5, 2017

If you could clear your mind, clarify your thoughts, improve your relationships and visualize the path to achieve your goals, all in under two minutes or less, you’d do it, right?

Sure, you can do a lot of things in under two minutes ― brush your teeth, make your bed, bake any of these saliva-inducing desserts ― but finding a two-minute exercise that’ll leave you feeling accomplished, present and fulfilled? That’s another thing.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Dignity Health to ask busy professionals how they refocus, de-stress and clarify their minds in two minutes or less. Take a look below at their responses and learn about ways these wellness gurus use mindfulness to yield positive, more meaningful results in their lives.

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Make a list of what you can control in the situation causing you stress and what you can’t control. For example, if you are stuck in traffic, you cannot control the fact that you will be late, but you can control whether you let the person you are meeting know you are running late. Focus on what you can control to make change, and accept what you cannot control.”

― Kimberley Hershenson, therapist

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I do my favorite technique called a mini meditation. You can do this for as long or as short as you’d like. And this can be done any time, anywhere, by anyone. If you want to close your eyes you can, but you don’t have to. You concentrate on the breath ― the rise and fall of the chest. And on the inhale you think, “I am.” On the exhale you think, “At peace.” Keep repeating. If other thoughts intrude, just dismiss them without judgment and return to the breath and the mantra. That’s it.”

-- Kathy Gruver, author and motivational speaker

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“Take a break from your screen and look out a window. Or better yet, go outside and watch the clouds. First of all, it helps you take a longer view ― literally ― so you realize there’s more to life than the screen that’s typically 18 inches in front of you. Second, by staying still long enough to watch the clouds for two minutes, you’ll see that they are constantly moving, changing and taking different shapes, just like your thoughts.”

― Kate Hanley, yoga teacher and mindfulness coach

“Be a curious explorer. Look around you with fresh eyes, pretending that you just landed on this planet. Use your senses to notice what you see, hear and smell. Feel the air on your skin. If you’re drinking or eating something, notice the taste, texture and temperature. If you can do this outside, even better.”

― Jo Eckler, clinical psychologist and yoga teacher

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“Laughter releases endorphins or “feel good” hormones. These hormones lead to feelings of euphoria, which aid in reducing stress and even decreasing pain. So watch that funny video, talk to that person with a funny sense of humor or just grin like Cheshire Cat. It will help you feel better.”

Kadeem Alston-Roman, holistic wellness expert

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“I like to take two minutes and sit with my legs up the wall and count to ten a few times. This both calms my mind but also re-energizes me on whatever task I was struggling with.”

Kristen Link, nutrition health coach

“Get a quick burst of exercise. Doing fifty jumping jacks in a minute releases endorphins (feel-good hormones) and fights cortisol (stress hormone). Your mind also shifts its focus from the stressors and focuses on the exercise at hand. After a minute of exercise, breathe deep and count backwards from 60.”

Igor Kholkin, digital marketing consultant

“Move. If you have a door you can close, put on a song and dance, look up an aerobics or qigong video, strike a yoga pose, or try a chair yoga pose. Or, walk briskly down the hall, or around the block. Wiggle. Stretch.”

Jo Eckler, clinical psychologist and yoga teacher

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“Dump it out! Sit and write down anything that comes to mind as fast as you can. Let your writing be messy. Let the thoughts flow. Set a timer and write with no judgment or cares ― it’s the equivalent of venting. I like to rip the paper in as many pieces as I can, letting the negative energy out as I do so, and then throw it all away.”

Sharla Mandere, holistic health coach

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“I always feel so much less stressed having a cup of tea. The ritual of steeping the tea is comforting in and of itself, and the warmth of the cup in my hands and the tea down my throat calms me. I also run warm water on my hands. No science here, that I know of, but holding my hands under hot running water is so relaxing. When I feel my stress level rise, I’ll lock myself in the bathroom for a couple of minutes, turn on the warm tap, and close my eyes.I know it sounds slightly unusual, but just try it. I think you’ll be surprised!”

Gillian Perkins, author and entrepreneur

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“If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try listening to some calming music. Studies have found that playing relaxing classical music has a positive effect on the brain and body by lowering lower blood pressure and reducing your levels of cortisol, a hormone linked to stress. If classical music isn’t your thing, try listening to the sounds of rain falling or ocean waves to reap the same benefits.”

Marc Cenedella, founder and CEO

It only takes two minutes of being present in a moment to create positive impact, more meaningful relationships and mindfulness moving forward. Learn more about the ways that mindfulness and compassion are part of the holistic health care provided by Dignity Health.