Mindfulness. We hear it talked about across our social media, in self-help books, and even in podcasts nowadays, but what does it mean to be mindful? Mindfulness is thought to be centred around five principles, or facets, namely observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-judging and non-reacting. In essence, mindfulness focuses on the concept of simply being in the moment, perceptive to our internal and external experiences without judgement or interpretation of what it is that we observe.
Some people may prefer to incorporate mindfulness more seamlessly into their day-to-day routine, perhaps by noticing what they can see, hear, feel, and smell on a walk or whilst cooking dinner. Alternatively, a more structured and scripted approach can feel more comfortable, particularly if you are new to mindfulness and don’t quite know where to start with it all. In this case, settle into a comfortable space, either seated or lying down, and take a few minutes to work through this Breathing Space mindfulness exercise:
Spend the first minute of this exercise checking in with yourself. How are you feeling as you carry out this practice today? Notice the feelings that arise without judgement, or reaction. Allow any thoughts or feelings to come and go, as if floating away down a stream.
Dedicate the second minute of this exercise to reconnecting with your breath. You may wish to place a hand on your stomach or chest, noticing the rise as you inhale, and the fall as you exhale the breath away. Try not to change or interpret the pace of your breath.
Take the last minute of this exercise to draw your attention to the way your breath feels in the rest of your body. Notice any areas of tension beginning to soften as your breaths become deeper.
When you feel ready, start to flutter your fingers and toes, opening your eyes if you had them closed, bringing your awareness back to the room. Credit yourself for investing in yourself through a mindful moment.