A brief mindfulness exercise: just a few moments to foster clarity

There are significant health and performance-based benefits that come from brief periods of mindful practice during the day including:

  • An ability to focus with clarity
  • Avoid being ‘bogged down’ by negative thinking
  • Emotional regulation
  • Clear thinking
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Awareness of self and others (empathy)
  • Reduced feelings of anxiety and tension
  • Tackle stress
  • Pain relief
  • Improved performance through increased focus
Brief mindfulness can be practiced by spending a short time focusing upon breathing or scanning the body to develop the ability to be aware of the present moment rather than dipping into the past or the future. Neither the past or the future exist but our brains cannot tell the difference between thinking about them or actually being there, hence the emotional and physical responses are the same: anxiety, tension, pain etc. The breath brings you to the present moment and anchors you. It is of course readily available.

Just breathe

Focus your attention upon your breathing. Notice the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe.

If your mind wanders, which it often does, gently bring your attention back to the breath on each occasion. As you practice, you will find that the time you spend observing will increase, translating into an ability to focus your spotlight of attention where you choose as opposed to following the mind and responding.

Mindfulness – being aware but without judgement

You are aware of thoughts but become increasingly skilled at just noticing them and choosing to respond as you wish to. With compassion.

‘It is just a thought’

Repeat the exercise 3-4 x day, lying or sitting. Initially it is good to practice in a quite space but in time you will be able to be mindful wherever you are situated: at work, at play and at home.

We are often on autopilot or have recurring thoughts that are unhelpful or become barriers to achieving our potential. Mindfulness practice breaks down these barriers.

The mindful task: choose a daily task such as washing up or tying your shoes. Pay attention to all the sensory qualities of the experience. In other words be fully present. Practice this as often as you like.

 

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