Carnegie Mellon University

Staff Council

The voice for staff at Carnegie Mellon University

two students sitting in chair on a nice day

July 12, 2022

Minute Moments of Wellness

Minute Moments of Wellness

Now that summer has rolled around, you might be approaching this time with a chance to rejuvenate and establish new habits for the upcoming academic year. Much like new year resolutions, however, habits can be incredibly hard to establish and maintain, as humans have a tendency to gravitate towards all-or-nothing goals that are much too large to easily integrate into our day-to-day lives. Instead of setting yourself a goal to run 10 miles every day, or to completely eliminate the foods you love from a diet all in the name of 'wellness,' start small and do something little every day that provides you with a big reward in the long run! 

Eat mindfully, no matter what you're eating: When you're cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to color, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them.  Pause for a minute or two before you begin eating to contemplate everything and everyone it took to bring the meal to your table. Silently express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the companions you're enjoying it with. As you chew your food, try identifying all the ingredients, especially seasonings. 

Chair yoga: No matter if you're a seasoned veteran to the mat, or "downward dog" is only referencing your furry friend, take a few minutes to add intentional movement to your day. Chair yoga doesn't require a mat, special props, or any special clothing, just yourself and 10 minutes to breathe deeply. Start building in a cat-cow stretch, seated pigeon, or chair eagle between meetings or over lunch. Check out this site for written and visual guides on some really easy stretches that can make a huge difference for your back, hips, neck, and mind. 

Body scan meditation: Like many others, you might be intimidated by meditation because of the expected ritual of sitting for an hour and not having a thought enter your head. But meditation can also have a clear goal assigned that makes it not feel so nebulous! Body scan meditation is a form of mindfulness meditation where you scan your body for tension, tightness, pain, or anything out of the ordinary. Possible benefits of body scan meditations include reduced anxiety, improved sleep, decreased pain, better focusing skills, and greater self-awareness. You can find all different levels of guidance, length, and involvement on YouTube, or on apps like Headspace (which everyone at CMU can access for free by registering here!). 

Find something to laugh at: Maybe you like to watch TikToks, puppies playing with each other, or celebrities eating hot wings and answering questions about their lives, finding something to laugh at for a few minutes can help lower blood pressure, soothes muscle tension, and raises dopamine. Even if you're not actually happy at that moment, smiling for just 10-15 seconds can trick your brain into being just a bit happier! 

Text a friend about why you're grateful for them: You love getting good texts out of the blue, right? Sending them to the people that you love the most feels pretty great too! Text a friend and tell them how much they mean to you, especially if you haven't talked to them in the while. Providing just a bit of positivity to the world can increase your gratitude for those around you, and shares a sense of love and camaraderie both internally and externally. 

No matter if you're spending 30 seconds, 30 minutes, or 3 hours in experiences that are centered around improving your physical, mental, and/or emotional wellness, your body will thank you for thinking of it. If you're interested in fostering more wellness within the Carnegie Mellon community, check out the Staff Council Wellness Committee - connect with us by emailing