Mindfulness


Be in the moment

“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

We live crazy, busy lives with so many distractions, interruptions and things that need to get done. Many times you find yourself doing lots of things at once, and not really focusing on any one thing. You’re at the stove cooking dinner while talking on the phone to your sister and keeping an eye on the kids doing their homework, or you’re at your desk scanning emails, thinking about an upcoming meeting while chatting with a work colleague. You’re so busy doing that you often miss out on connecting with the moments you’re living.

Mindfulness meditation focuses your mind on the present moment. It trains your mind to be alert and pay attention to the thoughts and the sensations you feel and accept them without judgement. Being mindful is being aware of the moment.

Regularly practising mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve mood, relieve stress, improve sleep, improve mental health and reduce pain.

To practise mindfulness meditation you can join a class, listen to a CD, learn a script from a book or play a DVD or online video.

A simple technique to give you a taste of mindfulness meditation is a body scan. It helps you become aware of your body in this present moment.

Example script – Simple body scan

Find a comfortable position. This may be in a chair, on your bed or lying outside in the sun.

Close your eyes and relax your body.

Breathe in and out slowly and gently.

Take your time and focus on smooth, even breaths.

Notice how your body feels. The weight of it as you sit on the chair, or as you’re lying down.

Keep breathing in and out, slowly and evenly.

Now focus on your feet. Notice any feelings or sensations, tension, warmth, coolness, pain, discomfort. Just notice these feelings, they’re not good or bad. They simply exist.

Keep breathing smoothly in and out.

Move up to your legs. Focus on your legs. Notice any feelings or sensations, tension, warmth, coolness, pain, discomfort. These feelings are not good or bad. They simply exist in this moment.

Keep breathing smoothly in and out.

If your mind starts to wander at any time, that’s ok – just gently bring your attention back to your breathing…in and out. Then move back to your body scan.

Continue scanning your body noticing each body part as you go, and any feelings or sensations you encounter. None of these are good or bad– they’re just there.

Keep breathing smoothly in and out. After you‘ve reached your head and face, take time to notice the feelings and sensations in your whole body. Focus on your breathing, noticing it going in and out. Open your eyes.

Practise mindfulness meditation regularly. When you’re trying to sleep, after a busy or stressful day, at your desk before a meeting, when you’re out for a walk. Notice how you feel, the things around you, use all of your senses, be present and pay attention to the moment.

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