Senior Youth Trust Counsellor Amanda explains what Mindfulness is and describes a mindfulness practice which we can all try.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” Kung Foo Panda.
Mindfulness is about noticing our thoughts – thinking; noticing our emotions – feelings; noticing what is going on in our bodies – body sensations and choosing how to respond to these. Being aware of what we are experiencing, on purpose, in the present moment.
Sometimes we can spend a lot of time worrying about the past or the future, over thinking and turning problems over and over in our minds. Whilst we can’t always change outside influences, we can choose how we respond to a problem and mindfulness can help.
Here’s a mindful breathing practice for you to try : –
- Find a comfortable position, with a relaxed and upright posture.
- Begin by tuning in to the sensations of feet in contact with the floor, and your body in contact with whatever you are sitting on. It’s okay to adjust your position so that you are comfortable.
- It can be helpful to take a few deep breaths to begin with, and then simply allow the breath to find its own rhythm – there’s no need to control it.
- Notice where in your body this sensation of breathing is felt most – maybe in the nostrils, chest, stomach or somewhere else. You can place a hand over the body sensation to help focus on this area if you like.
- See if you can continue to follow the sensations of breathing, following the whole of your in-breath and out-breath as best you can.
- If your mind wanders, as it probably will, that’s okay simply begin again. A wandering mind is normal, not a problem, it means you’re human. Just notice and gently bring your attention back to your breathing, you may need to do this many times!
- You can do this for as long as you wish and try to make sure that you finish by extending your awareness to a sense of the whole body sitting in the space, just breathing.
- Opening the eyes, if you had them closed or raising your gaze to notice your surroundings. Having a stretch and listening to what your body needs gently continuing with your day.