Mindfulness – Self Help Guide

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Worrying and anxiety is generally focused on the future or the past.  As a result you could be worried what might happen and what you’ll do about it.  Or worried about about the things you’ve said or done. Our minds are calmest when we are focusing on the here and now or ‘in the moment’ and mindfulness can help.

Focus on the present moment

Breathing exercises can help you focus your mind on the present as each breath we take is in the present moment.  See our self help guide on breathing exercises.

It can also help to pay attention to the way your body feels.  Consider what’s going on in your mind, like an observer of what is going on for you in that particular moment.  Watching our thoughts as if they were a film passing in front of our eyes.  Changing our thought patterns from future worries or past memories can be challenging so try and make time each day to practice.

At first, you’ll probably find that your mind keeps wandering back to your worries. Try not to get frustrated. Each time you notice it happening, gently bring your mind back to the present.

Basic mindfulness

  • Find a quiet place, if you can get outside as mindfulness in nature can be very relaxing
  • Sit on a comfortable chair that will support your back and sit up straight with your hands resting on the tops of your upper legs.
  • Close your eyes or hold a gentle gaze at a spot on the floor
  • Breathe in through your nose, if you can
  • Focus on your breath flowing deep into your belly and breathe out through your mouth.
  • Focus on the sensation of cool air entering your nostrils and warm air being breathed out thorough your mouth
  • Become aware of your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.
  • If your mind starts to wander, gently bring your focus back to your breathing.

Engage with your senses

  • Listen for sounds around you. Pick out 2 or 3 separate sounds focusing on one at a time.  Maybe you can hear birdsong, children in the distance or the sound of the wind through the trees.
  • Pick out 2 or 3 sensations. Notice the temperature of the air around you, the sensation of the warmth of the sun on your head or the breeze on your skin or through your hair.
  • Open your eyes and focus on 3 or 4 things you can see, focussing on one at a time. Look at the shapes of the clouds and if they are moving.  Observe the plants and trees around you, the shape, the size, the different colours and how each casts a different shadow.
  • Pick out 1 or 2 smells around you such as freshly cut grass or the smell of the earth, particularly just after it has rained.
  • Look for 2 or 3 things you can touch.  Notice the different textures and temperatures, maybe a leaf, the wood or metal of the bench you are sitting on or the texture of your coat
  • After a few minutes return to focus on your breath for a while

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