Thursday, 1 December 2016

Mindful breathing

December is without doubt a busy month for most people.  There are all those presents to buy, Christmas activities to do with the kids, events and parties to attend or host and the usual amount of work to squeeze into less days! It's no wonder we start to feel stressed the closer Christmas becomes. So why not aim to be more mindful this December?

Mindfulness stems from ancient practices and has become a popular antidote to modern life. It has its roots in ancient meditation practices and research has shown mindfulness to be effective for reducing stress and improving mental and physical wellbeing.

Mindful breathing is a good way to get started with mindfulness. Aim to practise the exercise below for at least five minutes each day and you should start to feel the benefits of a calmer mind.

Mindful breathing

  1. Find yourself a comfortable upright chair and sit down with your feet flat on the floor and your hands gently resting on your legs. Position yourself so that the base of your spine is gently touching the chair back.
  2. Close your eyes or direct your gaze to the floor area just in front of your feet.
  3. Sit still for a few moments and allow your body to relax and your mind to become calm.
  4. Focus on your breathing and how it feels. Think about the cool air entering your body and the warm air leaving your body and think about your abdomen rising and falling as the air enters and leaves.
  5. Breathe normally while focusing on these breathing sensations. If you find your mind wanders off, gently bring your focus back to your breathing. 
  6. After five minutes open your eyes and take in the world around you. 

Note: You may find this easier on some days than others. This is quite normal. What is important is that if your mind wanders, you gently bring it back to your breathing without judgement. You may find this happens quite a bit to begin with, but with practice you should find it easier.

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