This week we start with a simple and short (6-minute) mindfulness exercise focusing on your breathing. The objective is to free you from worrying thoughts and feelings about the future and the past by bringing your attention to the present moment. This will help you relax as you experience the sensations of your body as part of your environment.
Choose a private area without too many distractions where you can feel relaxed. Sit in a comfortable but alert posture. If you prefer, you can also lie down flat on your back; use a cushion or something similar, to elevate your knees slightly to relieve any pressure on your back if needed.
Gently close your eyes. Take a couple of deep breaths, and, as you exhale, settle into your body, relaxing any obvious tension or holding. Then, breathing normally, bring your awareness to your body, sensing for a short while how the body presents itself to you. There is no particular way to be; just notice how you are at this moment.
This is a guided exercise; the audio file is available online here:
When the audio is complete, slowly bring your attention back to your environment, be still for a moment before opening your eyes slowly.
Do not be disappointed or worried if you have trouble relaxing or focusing, at first, it is a common experience at first. Focusing on one’s present moment experience might sound easy, but you may quickly discover that it is not easy at all! You may find that your mind keeps wandering off, that you are dosing off, or that you experience unwanted thoughts or feelings. You may also get distracted, get bored, or even feel a little silly or embarrassed. These experiences are all normal in the beginning. Just go with the flow and let them pass as they come and go.
We strongly suggest that you keep a mindfulness record by briefly noting the details (e.g. date, exercise, duration, experiences, and problems) of each time that you do a mindfulness activity. Keeping a record will help you see progress and remind you of details that worked better. Repeat the exercise as frequently as required, especially when you feel stressed and need a quiet moment. Remember that you are able to stand by your partner, family member, or friend much better when you are relaxed.
Next, we guide you through a short exercise of mindful walking.