Mindfulness can give you a sense of control, it can help you feel calm, it can bring you a sense of perspective, and it can prepare you for your next challenge.
Mindfulness can take many forms and includes a range of activities. Below is a recipe; the ingredients aren’t easy to come by for everyone. They take a lot of practice to collect. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on one element and slowly mix them for more comprehensive mindfulness practise.
Open and Curious – This can be difficult, particularly if we’re angry, overwhelmed or feeling hurt; however, these are the times where mindfulness can be the most effective. You’re adopting an open and curious attitude about your surroundings, body, and thoughts.
- Allowing yourself to experience the here and now.
- Not worrying about the present, not reflecting on the past.
- Ask yourself, “What is happening right now?”
Notice your feet on the ground, your breath moving past your lips, your shoulders, then maybe the thoughts moving through your mind and the feelings moving through your body.
Your 5 senses:
Identify and say to yourself:
I can hear:
I can feel:
I can taste:
I can see:
I can smell:
During mindfulness, our minds can wander, our thoughts can drift to the future “What will I make for dinner” and drift to the past “I can’t believe I said that, how embarrassing”.
We can guide ourselves back towards mindfulness by saying to ourselves, “I notice my mind drifting”, then identify our senses, notice our breath or simply notice the feeling of the chair underneath our legs.
If you have never practised mindfulness before and feel like you want to give it a try, then make sure you’re in a quiet, comfortable spot. Try it for the first time when you are calm and experiencing comfortable emotions. This will help you practice ahead of time, and you will likely feel more prepared when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
In the words of Russell Harris: “You are learning a valuable skill, so be gentle with yourself. If your attention wanders 1000 times, your aim is simply to bring it back 1000 times.
About the Author:
Brianne is a Registered Counsellor with the Australian Counselling Association. She spent most of her career working with children, youth and families. She currently works with adults experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression. She has a particular interest in working with parents and caregivers who want to develop their emotional health and increase the emotional intelligence of their children.