Brief mindfulness practice

If your life is very full it is better to work with this practice for a minute (or three) two to four times a day rather than to try to do longer practices – which you may never find the time to get to! Practice over time will build the muscle to draw on the calm centredness that can arise from practising this exercise in the midst of chaotic and stressful moments.

Step 1: Noticing

Stop for a few moments and get yourself into an upright but relaxed position. Close your eyes or leave them open with a soft gaze – whatever is most comfortable for you. Become aware of your internal world and simply notice sensations, feelings and thoughts that arise without judgement. There are no wrong or right sensations, feelings or thoughts. They are just that. Notice any changes that occur as you tune into your sensations, feelings and thoughts without making any attempt to change them.

Step 2: Directing attention to the breath

Gently redirect your attention to your breathing. Notice the in-breath followed by the out-breath. Be aware of the path of air from inhalation to exhalation. Do not try to change your breathing, simply notice it – and be aware of any changes that occur as you pay attention to it in this way.

Step 3: Expanding awareness

Now expand your awareness to your whole body. Notice the surfaces that your skin is touching against all the way from your toes to the top of your head.

You can spend just enough time to tune into each of these steps – in all taking a minute with this practice – or your can spend about a minute on each step – thus taking about three minutes. If you want a longer practice you can go through the steps and then repeat them as many times as you wish to, or sit in the expanded awareness until you become aware that your attention is once again focused on sensations or feelings or thoughts and then simply move through the three steps repeatedly.

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