Mindfulness interventions have increasingly been examined and recommended for a number of psychological difficulties in recent years.
Research carried out by Baer (2003) demonstrates that Mindfulness can be beneficial for depression, anxiety, chronic pain and addictions amongst other things.
A simple and quick exercise, that can take just 1 minute, can help us learn to practice Mindfulness and begin to offer us the benefits of Mindfulness based meditation.
A MINUTE OF MINDFULNESS
1. Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit where you won’t be disturbed and close your eyes. Take a couple of deep breaths and relax. For the first 20seconds or so try to simply notice your thoughts and feelings. Try to keep your awareness focussed on a small space around your head. Notice what you are thinking ‘right now’, try not to engage in those thoughts, just let them enter your head and drift out again.
2. During the next 20 seconds or so start to allow your awareness to include not only your thoughts and feelings, but also your physical sensations. Continue to allow yourself to notice your thoughts and feelings, but also try to notice how it feels to be in your body at that moment. Once again, try not to engage in the physical sensation, just notice it and let it be.
3. During the final stage of this minute of mindfulness try to add another layer to your awareness. Whilst remained attended to your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations, try to notice the space around you. Notice any sounds in the room, can you smell anything, what is the temperature like. What does it feel like to be in that particular place at this particular time. Remember, try not to interpret or engage in any of the things you are noticing. Simply attend to them and let them be.
This three stage exercise can be done in as little as a minute, but can be expanded out for as long as you would like.
Giving yourself regular permission to spend time noticing and fully participating in the moment you are in can become a fore-filling and valuable part of your life.