Why not try a mindfulness session?
Find somewhere comfortable without distraction where you can relax for 10 to 15 minutes.
Once you are comfortable play the audio.
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Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga. It helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings, so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them.
Practising mindfulness can give people more insight into their emotions, boost their attention and concentration and improve relationships. It’s proven to help with stress, anxiety, depression and addictive behaviours; and can even have an affect on physical problems like hypertension, heart disease and chronic pain.
I’m now going to read through a short simple breathing space mindfulness exercise. All you have to do is follow the instructions as best as you can and remember that this may take some practice before it really works for you.
First of all, all you need to do is stop what you are doing. Sit or lay down if you prefer in a comfy position. But remember with practice you may even find you can do this exercise standing or walking. But for now all I want you to do is shut your eyes unless you really find that not comfy.
And simply just bring your awareness into the present. Try to leave those things that you have to do aside and take your attention on to your body and the sounds around you, and the thoughts within you, and the emotions you are feeling. The important thing is just to notice them as though you are watching them on the television or hearing them on the radio.
Try and take now your focus on to your breathing. Don’t try and change it, just notice it. And try and visualise the breath entering and leaving your body. Try and pay attention to your breathing as it is felt moment by moment. Put all your attention on to that breath, and if it helps visualise it in some way entering and leaving your body. Concentrate on the sensation of the air entering, filling your lungs and leaving your lungs as you breathe out, and put all your attention on to that sensation. And if you hear noises around you or thoughts that come into your head just let them pass by, noticing them but not letting them worry you.
Focus on how your breathing makes your body feel. Notice the sensations of your body on the chair or on the bed or wherever you are, notice the sensation of the floor beneath your feet. Sometimes its useful to scan from your feet up to your head, just noticing the sensations as you breathe in and out. The important thing is not to try and change it or control it. Just notice it and let it happen.
You may find that for example that as your breath leaves your body you start to feel warmth within your legs, particularly within the top of your legs and the warmth moving down to your feet. If it happens for you – notice it. If it doesn’t – don’t worry cause we’re all different.
I’m now going to stop talking and all I want you to do during the silence that follows is to concentrate on your breathing and notice what’s happening for you in your body…
…now slowly and quietly bring your attention back to the room, and the area in which you are sitting. Notice some of the sensations of the room around you, notice some of the noises that might be around you, and slowly just increase your breathing take a big deep breath and let it out slowly, do that 2 or 3 times.
If your eyes are shut just open them slowly and notice the room around you and take a moment to enjoy the sense of relaxation.
Something to try
If you like using your Smartphone there are many apps available that are designed to reduce stress. Explore them and see what works for you.
Remember you can download this mindfulness session to you phone, tablet or laptop and use it whenever you like.
- Finding Peace in a frantic world by Dr. Danny Penman, J. Mark G. Williams
- ISBN-10 074995308X
- ISBN-13 9780749953089
This book comes with a CD of mindfulness sessions – book website: Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World
- A systematic review of the benefits of mindfulness-based interventions following
transient ischemic attack and stroke [.pdf, 341 KB] Lawrence M, Booth J, Mercer S, Crawford E. (2013) A systematic review of the benefits of Mindfulness-Based Interventions following transient ischaemic attack and stroke. International Journal of Stroke, 8:465-474