Try These 1-Minute Meditations to Feel Calmer

By Rachel Grunwell (wellness coach/yoga + mindfulness meditation teacher/author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness, which features 30 global experts sharing advice on how to live healthier and happier as well as 30 nourishing recipes). Buy the book for yourself or someone you love. Click HERE

Below are three different types of meditations that are just 1-minute-long each. They’re easy, relatable and quick. They will help you live life more grounded and present in the moment. I love teaching these mindfulness tools to clients. These are brain-training tool that helps you to live life more joyfully in the present moment (and less in the past or future). Meditation is handy for calming stress levels and feeling less anxious. It’s a tool that can help anyone. And all you need is a minute. Please share these meditations below with someone you love and care about who could benefit from using these. I’d be so grateful – Rach x

ps the below meditations that I share in links below are:

Senses meditation – a meditation that helps you cultivate mindfulness and present-moment awareness through tuning into your senses ie sight, sound, taste, smell, touch.

Body scan meditation – a mindfulness meditation where you scan your body and raise awareness around relaxing different parts of the body to feel calmer, and grounded. This one is especially good just before sleep!

Box breathing meditation – a simple, easy meditation based on breathing in for four counts, pausing for four counts, breathing out for four counts and pausing for four counts. You put this on repeat. 

Try a 1 Minute Box Breathing Meditation exercise to feel calmer, less anxious and more grounded. Click HERE.

Try a 1 Minute Senses Meditation with a Cup of Coffee. Click HERE

Try a 1 minute Body Scan Meditation to calm your stress nervous system. Click HERE.

To find out more about Rachel’s book Balance and all the different wellbeing experts included click HERE. Balance includes 30 nourishing recipes too like the beetroot juice you see below.

10 Tips for Mental Wellbeing

By Rachel Grunwell: Wellness Coach, PT, Yoga + Mindfulness Teacher. Author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness.

Here are 10 tips to help uplift your mental wellbeing. I was asked to pen these tips by Penrith City Council which is showcasing my book Balance during the Penrith City Council Library’s Wellbeing Festival in October for Mental Health Month. Try one of these 10 research-backed tips…

  1. Exercise (in a way that you enjoy) to boost your mood. Better still, do it in the morning to help you build confidence and overcome obstacles, says Psychologist Adam Grant. He says that “on days when people exercise before work, they’re more engaged and less exhausted. They see tasks as challenges to conquer rather than threats to avoid. Early wins boost energy and efficacy”. P.S. If you want inspiration, then I’m regularly sharing fitness and wellness tips on instagram via
  2. Eat more real foods (and less stuff from packets). Good food helps to fuel how you think, feel and perform. p.s. some hero foods that boost brain power include things like blueberries, walnuts, salmon, cacao, fermented foods, avocados, and eggs – just to name some!
  3. Find flow. I mention in my book Balance that Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as “the secret to a life worth living”. Flow brings you happiness – and you feel this way through doing activities that you love that can put you into a state of flow. To find out more about flow read this in my book or find a Ted Talk from the psychologist himself.
  4. Connect with people you love. A Harvard University study reveals you can live longer and happier if you have quality, loving relationships. This does not have to be a marriage. It can be anyone who loves you and lifts you up, supports you and cares about you.
  5. Go for a walk to calm anxiety. Australian author Sarah Wilson who penned the book ‘First, We Make the Beast Beautiful’, shares in my book Balance why walking is so calming, saying “there are studies to show that walking goes at the same pace as discerning thought, too. That in itself can modulate anxiety”. She explains why this is so in my book, plus shares her passion for sustainability also (page 252).
  6. Learn mindfulness meditation. This is an effective stress-relief technique. It helps to calm your nervous system. There are lots of amazing books on this topic in your local library. I love to teach this and you can access a free senses meditation via my instagram. Click HERE.
  7. Sleep well daily. Dr Adam Storey in my book Balance explains how this increases your ability to manage stress, helps you to have sharper concentration, improves your memory and increases your energy. I’d add that it helps to make me a nicer human to be around if I’ve had 7.5-8 hours a night! chuckle. I also love Dr Storey’s line “sleep like a baby so you can perform like a beast”.
  8. Professor Jarrod Haar recommended getting a pet because this increases happiness. In my book Balance he explains “the pause when we stroke a pet or engage for a few seconds helps employees disconnect from their work, so even after 10 seconds they are better able to refocus on the task at hand. Relaxed and happy workers tend to perform better too”.
  9. Texas-based Happiness researcher Shawn Achor shares in my book Balance that “raising your positivity in the present” can be a key to living life happier. He shares other tips too that he uses daily to help ward off depression. He has courageously spoken publicly about overcoming depression. His insights that he shares are things he works on daily to boost his happiness levels. They’re so simple – yet profoundly powerful.
  10. Spread kindness. It’s a boomerang. If you are kind to others, then I promise this vibe will come back to you too. And of course, this will help you to smile.

About the author: Rachel helps clients dump stress, fit their jeans better and love who they see in the mirror. She can help you to thrive, not just survive. Her aim is to help you feel VIBRANTLY ALIVE. Email her if you’d like a wellness coaching consult [email protected]

Find out more about her book Balance. Click HERE

The publisher says this about Balance:

“Respected journalist Rachel Grunwell interviews 30 experts globally to get the best of tips on how to uplift your mind, body and soul so that you can live your best life. Along the way, Rachel also shares her story on how she went from being an unfit, stressed- out investigative journalist and mother, to someone who is now a multi-marathoner and wellness expert who coaches others with fitness and lifestyle plans.

As well as interviews with experts, Balance has 30 recipes for nutrient-dense, delicious snacks and
smoothies, including some sweet treats, because the book is all about ‘balance.’

Balance is a science-based book with the best tips from a variety of experts that will inspire you to move well, eat well, think well, feel well and live well. What are you waiting for? Dip in!”

4 Mindfulness Practices to Decrease Stress

By Rachel Grunwell – yoga + meditation teacher, wellness coach, author of the book Balance, and co-leader of the Mindful Moments retreats at the Polynesian Spa

Here are 4 mindfulness practices that can help to dump stress. You don’t have to incorporate all of them into your life. Choose just one that most resonates with you and work on this one idea. Or have a go at all four practices if you are super curious and have the time.

I recommend all of these ideas for a more calm and happy life. I’m personally working on all of them myself to feel more in balance and happier. The trick is to start with one idea and do it for a few minutes a day and then build on this time, or pick up another idea. Over time, you just keep building on living a more “mindful life”.

  1. Give gratitude. Take a few moments each day to feel grateful for someone, or something, in your life that makes you smile. It could be your cat or dog, a loved one, a place you love to be in… Take a few moments to feel gratitude for this place, person or thing that makes you happy. Use visualisation. Another way to give gratitude is to do something… like write a message, text, or email to someone and tell them how you are grateful for them in your life. The more specific your gratitude is the better.
  2. Movement is medicine. Move your body in a mindful way to help you to feel more vibrantly alive. Movement helps your body, as well as your mind and soul. We are made to move. So move in a way that moves you… Sometimes we can get stuck in the “thinking”. Movement helps us to dump stress, feel more grounded and feel more in the present moment. People deal with stress differently. Some find meditation really works. While, others (like me) find doing something active is a great distraction from a busy life.
  3. Try mindfulness meditation. Learn how to be more present, aware, and tuned into the moment. This is all just about taking a few moments to check in with yourself in how you are thinking and feeling and then choosing how you wish to be. You don’t need to be cross-legged and in India and sitting in silence. You can be anywhere and do this anytime. Mindfulness meditation helps us to respond too with a more considered mind – rather than having knee jerk reactions. You can read books on the subject, listen to podcasts, or work with a mindfulness meditation like me to help you understand this discipline more clearly with practical ideas on what to do. Here’s a 60 second vid where Mindfulness meditation is explained by moi on instagram. Click HERE
  4. Sleep life a baby so you perform like a beast. This means 7 hours plus a day. Kids, and athletes, need more. Sleep helps us to think more clearly, respond more quickly and perform at our bests. It helps us to feel calmer and happier and to tap into more creativity. If you want to be productive… then sleep like a baby so you can do life like a beast. Often people turn to expensive supplements or expensive ideas to feel healthier. Sleeping is free!
    • * Work with Rachel for delivery of a mindfulness meditation presentation by booking a time with her agent, Josie via [email protected]. Rachel does 20min, 40min or 1 hour interactive presentations
    • Buy Rachel’s book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness full of 30 global experts sharing research-backed ideas on how to live healthier and happier.

Senses Meditation

By Rachel Grunwell – Yoga + Meditation teacher

I love this meditation to help me feel grounded, more aware and present in “the now”

I share this with yoga students often. It’s a fave.

Sit in a comfortable place and take a few slow breaths. Then notice your senses one by one with these prompts:

See. Firstly notice 5 things you can see. Colours. Textures.

Take a mindful breath.

Touch. Next notice four things you can touch. Notice the feeling.

Take a mindful breath.

Hear. Notice next three things you can hear.

Take a mindful breath.

Smell. What are two things you can smell?

Take a mindful breath.

Taste. What is one thing you can taste/or perhaps one thing you have enjoyed tasting today. It could be your morning coffee…

Now open your eyes and experience full presence.

Take a Mindfulness Minute to Feel Calmer

By Rachel Grunwell – wellness coach, yoga + meditation teacher, and co-leader of the Mindful Moments Retreats at the Polynesian Spa

Stop, pause and take a breath. Notice how you are choosing to “be” in this moment, right now.

How are you choosing to show up in the world? Tune into your senses, or your surroundings and notice, with compassion, how you are feeling and what you are thinking…

You experience the world by the way you choose to think. So it’s important to have awareness around this and that you can change how you view your world and what you are experiencing…

You might notice that you feel stressed or anxious. Try diaphragmatic breathing perhaps to calm your nervous system which can help you to feel more calm…

Meditation is simply just all about taking time to check in with yourself, choosing to feel more aware and then choosing how you want to be…

Mindfulness is about living in “the now” – in this moment, right now. Rather than feeling stuck in the past, or feeling anxious about the future. You choose to be present in this moment now.

A great way to take a mindful moment is to look outside and notice the clouds in the sky, the shapes, colours and movement… and perhaps feel grateful for something, or someone, in your life that makes you happy.

Another way to take a mindful moment is to lay under a tree and gaze up at the leaves, colours, textures, movement in the wind or perhaps it’s the sun reflecting on the leaves in a beautiful way. Stopping, pausing, taking a breath… you notice the little things and tune into how you are thinking and feeling… and then you can choose to reset that thinking to how you want it to be.

Tips to Manage Stress

Tips to Manage Stress 

By wellness expert Rachel Grunwell – co-leader of the Polynesian Spa’s Mindful Moments Retreats, yoga + meditation teacher & author of Balance: Food, Health + Happiness.

Make uplifting your wellbeing the goal for 2023 , doing it one tiny step at a time. Your wellbeing is your true wealth.

You could work on how you move, eat, sleep – or how you manage stress.

The latter is a common issue for most people. So, you are not alone. Here are some tips to manage stress. I hope one resonates and helps you.

Do joyful things because they are mood-lifting and uplifting for your soul.

Joyful activities are also a great distraction from your never endling to-do-list. As researcher Brene Brown, when we are in a state of joy colours are brighter, exercise feels easier and smiling happens involuntarily. We also don’t lose ourselves; We become more truly ourselves. Consider something you love to do that makes you feel joyful and do it regularly.

    •    Find calm in a way that resonates with you.

For me, yoga and meditation put me in a calm, happy, grounded state. I feel more myself and “in balance”. But yoga isn’t for everyone. It’s all about finding “your thing”. For you, it might be a walk in nature that helps you to feel calm.

Nature Nurtures: Rotorua’s majestic Redwoods Forest in incredible. You’ll feel calm as you walk through this special, quiet, beautiful and peaceful place.

For others, they might find calm by doing tai chi or having a hot bath at night in candle-light. One sure way to feel calmer and happier is patting your dog or cat if you have one. This releases feel-good hormones in your body like oxytocin.

    • Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend or a child.

Self-talk can be toxic when we talk to ourselves. It takes practice to change the way we think and talk sometimes. The next time you feel frustrated at yourself, stop, pause and remind yourself that you deserve thoughts that are loving and kind – just like everyone else. Remind yourself that you are doing your best and deserve to be happy.

    • Book a retreat where you can learn lots of de-stress skills like diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, mindfulness and where you will experience time in nature.

The Polynesian Spa’s Mindful Moments Retreat is a perfect weekend-long getaway that’s affordable. You’ll get pampered here with a massage included in the retreat fee and indulge in nourishing food with our sumptuous lunches (provided on both days of the weekend). The goodie bag is what everyone really raves about though! It’s worth $350 and includes lots of incredible beauty products as well as my book, Balance; Food, Health + Happiness. The book includes wisdom from 30 global experts including psychologists, neuroscientists, nutritionists, emotional intelligence experts, and happiness researchers + 30 nourishing recipes. Retreat-goers spend time in nature (biophilia, or forest bathing) in the majestic Redwoods Forest. Yoga is included and you’ll learn incredible meditation and mindfulness skills from the spa’s highly experienced manager, and meditation teacher, Helena Keenan.

Here are some pictures to tempt you:

Here’s an example of the goodie bag. It’s different every time but always includes beauty products, a Balance book and a bag.

Here I’m in a private pool, but there are 28 lake-side pools to choose from on site – of different temperatures. Some are acidic and great for muscle aches and pains, while there are also other pools where they are alkaline and these leave your skin silky smooth.

The pools are bliss…


Rachel and Helena are experienced wellness experts who love to share research-backed tools on how to uplift your wellbeing.

Here are the retreat dates for the Mindful Moments Retreats in 2023:

Saturday, 20th May – Sunday, 21st May 2023

 Saturday, 19th August – Sunday, 20th August 2023

 Saturday, 18th November – Sunday, 19th November 2023

 $689 per person

To find out what’s included and to book check out the Polynesian Spa website. Click HERE

How Stress Stuffs Up Your Run Performance + 3 Top Tips to Manage Stress

By Rachel Grunwell

(AD) Stress can stuff up your run performance. Too much stress can also increase your tiredness and fatigue and leave you with poor cognitive (thinking) ability. Hello fuzzy brain!

Some stress is normal in every day life. It helps you to get tasks done. But when you get overly stressed for long periods it can lead to burn out over time, poor sleep quality and put you into a real “run funk”. Stress also leads to elevated cortisol which decreases muscle mass – and muscle mass is handy to hang onto as a runner because this helps you to be strong when trying to power up hills! And the Rotorua Marathon event does have a few hills…

In simple speak, too much stress slows your run journey down. So here are some tips to manage stress…

5 Tips to Manage Stress

  1. Sleep well to feel at your optimum and have the energy to run well. Get 7.5 hours-8 hours nightly. Kids need more sleep and highly active individuals and athletes can benefit from even more than the standard hours of sleep. Sleep helps your with having sharper concentration, more energy, improves your memory, improves muscle regeneration, is good for your immune system and also increases your ability to manage stress! Sleep is a free recovery tool to optimise your performance. Sleep deprivation can also exhaust you faster, Getting less than eight hours’ sleep can also increase the likelihood of injury. So sleep like a baby, so you can run like a beast! ps 10pm-2am is the golden hour for sleep. So tuck up tight early on.
  2. Try having tart cherry juice (about 50ml) before bed to help you sleep after a hard and long training run. These berries pack a punch of antioxidant power, which supports joint mobility and helps protect your body from free radical damage. The berries also contain Vitamin A and beta carotene. There is research too that claims. the juice enhances immune system function, has a potent anti inflammatory effect and may increase melatonin levels to help people sleep well…. So it’s worth a try….
  3. Stretch or do yoga for 20-minutes to wind down and feel more in balance in your body and mind. While you stretch, use diaphragmatic breathing (deep belly breathing) which helps to calm your nervous system. Meditation is an element of yoga and helpful too for feeling happier. If you are new to trying meditation, then just do it for one minute. Here is a one minute meditation to try via my instagram page that’s easy, quick and I hope it helps your to unwind. Click HERE

This post was sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon event, which is being held on May 7, 2022. To enter a distance (full marathon, red stag timber half marathon, Go Media 10km or 5.5km) ENTER HERE

Rachel is the Rotorua Marathon ambassador (she has run 25 marathons including the Rotorua Marathon event five times). She is a wellness expert, and qualified coach. She’s the proud author too of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness which is full of lots of running, nutrition and wellness advice.

One Minute Meditation

Find a cosy spot, sit or lay down, close your eyes… & let me guide you through this one minute meditation, which can help to calm your nervous system. – Rachel x Click HERE

Sit, pause, be in the moment…

Rachel Grunwell plank yoga pose

We tend to know how to re-charge our batteries, but not ourselves.

I want to inspire you do these simple things to relinquish stress:




Find space for thoughts, and the people you love.

Be in the moment. You know, just “be”.

Live more in balance.

Have gratitude for the beauty of what you have in the present.

Do things that you love, & that make you feel alive.

Forgive yourself and others. This gives YOU the freedom to move forwards too.

Choose to be brave, dream big ad live life fully. I beg you not to waste years feeling stuck. Open your mind and be willing to see and learn from others much wiser than you. Be teachable. Always.

Choose. To. Live. Love. And laugh.

Stress is a choice. There are other ways to look at the world without compromising your immune system.

  • Rachel is a yoga + meditation teacher in Auckland. You can find her book Balance HERE