Mindfulness

Mindfulness of breathing
Taking ten minutes for yourself

“The term mindfulness refers to a quality of awareness that includes that ability to pay attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.” Mindfulness founder, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness is a core component of my holistic approach and daily working ethos.

The art of deep contemplation and self-acceptance is one that has helped me personally during my moments of anxiety, and just ten minutes a day of meditation and Mindfulness can have an instantly calming and long-lasting positive effect both spiritually and physically.

Simple techniques can reduce stress and help us to reassert a sense of control over the hectic nature of modern life, and Mindfulness in a healthcare setting has proven to help combat everything from depression and insomnia to chronic pain.

A combination of ancient wisdom and modern psychology, Mindfulness can be practised in a number of ways – including one of the most basic and effective techniques: breathing.

Take ten minutes for yourself to try Mindfulness of breathing:

  • Sit comfortably on a chair with your back straight, feet uncrossed and flat on the floor, your arms resting on your legs or in your lap on top of one another. Spend a moment to take in your surroundings with a soft focus.

  • Now gently close your eyes and tune into the inner environment of your body.

  • Become aware of the weight of your body, the contact between your body and the chair, and the sensation of the soles of your feet on the floor. Feel the weight of your hands and your arms resting on your legs or lap.

  • Take a moment now to notice the sounds around you, both inside and outside the room. You don’t need to focus on the noises; just let the sounds be.

  • Tune into the feeling of the air on your face and body, notice whether you are warm or cool.

  • Now bring your attention gently to your breath, noticing where you feel the breath in your body. Don’t change it, just be aware. You might be able to notice the small movements that you don’t usually pay attention to; maybe you feel them in your belly or your chest. Follow the in breath and the out breath with your full attention, like the waves of the sea ebbing and flowing.
  • After the next breath out just notice the slight pause, the stopping and the stillness before the next breath in. Just notice the quality and the rhythm of the pause and let the next breath in come when it wants to, almost like the breath is breathing you. You may find that as you notice the pause it naturally becomes longer.

  • You may find it helpful to count the breaths.

  • As you feel the rising sensation of the in breath you count 1.

  • As you feel the falling sensation of the out breath you count 2 just silently to yourself.

  • And you continue counting in that way up to 10: so it’s 1 with the rise of the breath and 2 with the fall, 3 with the rise and continuing this way up to the count of 10. When you reach 10 just stop and start again at 1. Just try that 2 or 3 times through.

  • Again, it doesn’t matter if the mind wanders, it’s quite normal, but as soon as you’ve noticed it has wandered, gently bring it back to the act of counting the breaths: stopping at 10 and starting again at 1.

  • When you are ready, just bring your attention back to your body. Notice the physical sensation of your body pressing against the chair and then your feet resting on the floor and your hands and arms resting on your legs. Notice the sounds inside and outside the room and any obvious tastes, smells and sensations, so bringing yourself back to your senses and your immediate environment.

  • In your own time bring yourself back into the room and open your eyes.

If you are interested in mindfulness here is feature (http://www.goodcornwallguide.co.uk/mindfulness/) by Hannah May (www.hmay.co.uk) and a link to the Mindfulness Centre in Cornwall.