Mindfulness is ” the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgementally  to the unfolding of experience moment by moment" (Kabat-Zinn 2003). Research into Mindfulness has shown it to produce psychological well-being, high levels of life satisfaction, more positive affect, less negative affect, a sense of autonomy and competence and greater life satisfaction (Collard, Avny, & Boniwell, 2008, Brown & Ryan, 2003). Research also shows  an association between higher levels of mindfulness and  lower levels of depression and anxiety and higher levels of self-esteem and vitality (Brown &Ryan, 2003;Lakey, Kernis, Heppner &Lance. 2008). 

.

It is well known that meditation practice enhances mindfulness and  promotes psychological health in clinical and nonclinical samples (Chiesa & Seretti, 2009; Grossman et. Al. 2004). Carrying out a simple meditation exercise each day is great way to increase your mindfulness in assisting your mind to be focussed on the present, and to effectively deal with a mind that wanders or ruminates with unhelpful negative thoughts. This simple meditation focusses on the principles of mindfulness, where your attention is focussed on the here and now, in this case on your breath. As your mind wanders away from the breath, as it invariable will, perhaps to unpleasant thoughts or just general things about your day, you are encouraged to gently, without judgement, bring your attention back to the breath and the body. This does not involve trying to make the thoughts go away or to control them, but rather to merely notice they are there and then to just bring your attention once more to your breathing.

.

To begin this exercise sit in a comfortable chair in a relaxed but upright position, allow yourself to notice your external environment first for a few moments, then bring your awareness into your body and notice what you are feeling, what thoughts are around and what sensations you might be feeling within your body. Then begin the Mp3.

.

Remember this is not a quick fix and it is a skill that requires a lot of practice, but it is worth it. With practice you can learn to let go of your negative focus on troublesome, unhelpful or uncomfortable thoughts and notice them releasing their grip on you throughout your day.



Enter your password below to download your simple awareness meditation.


.

Body Scan Meditation Mp3

The body scan is a form of meditation originally described by John Kabat-Zinn in his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (Kabat-Zinn, 1990) . Like the mindfulness meditation above that places its focus on your breath, the body scan assists you to notice and experience physical sensations. So much of our attention is focused on our thoughts and those things outside body such is our social situations, our jobs e.t.c. The body scan is a form of mindfulness training, where your attention is brought to a specific area of the body  and you can notice when your attention wanders from it.  Noticing your attention wondering and bringing your attention back to that area is a vital factor in encouraging self-control. 

The body scan involves bringing awareness to each part of the body. To begin with I will ask you to pay attention to your posture and then bring your attention to your breathing. Attention is then brought to different parts of your body. During the practice, you will pay attention to different physical sensations existing in specific areas of the body.  Once attention has briefly focused on a particular area of the body, you will be encouraged to move onto the next area, gradually moving through the body. During this meditation practice you will most likely find yourself distracted by thoughts, bodily sensations or sounds.  When this distraction occurs, you can just gently return your attention to the relevant parts of your body.  You can do this without judgement, without blaming yourself or reacting in any negative way, as the occurrence of distracting thoughts or sensations are inevitable,  this is just the way your mind works, and it requires considerable practice until they become  reduced. Also, as you pay attention to your body,  you might become aware of painful or unpleasant sensations (such as, tension in your shoulders or back pain).  Instead of changing, ignoring or suppressing the sensations, you can simply notice them on a moment by moment basis without judgement.

 It is important to remember that distraction or your mind wandering during the body scan is inevitable, this is okay, this is part of the exercise, a challenge of the exercise.  There is no right or wrong with these exercises, the very moment you realize you’re not present within the exercise,  you are actually present in order to make that observation.

.

The body scan is not a goal to search for, or a skill to be achieved; it is simply a practice where you can allow yourself to notice, with an accepting attitude, when you are not present and to return your attention to the body. However, during this journey, the body scan can give you insight into the nature and pattern of your thoughts in general, how certain thoughts can go over and over in your mind as well as training the perceptions of your mind. More details around these meditations will be given during your sessions.


.

Enter your password below to download the body scan meditation

.


7 Minute Meditation


When you are short of time or in the beginning of practice where you may prefer to have a quicker meditation here is a shorter 7 minute meditation to try.


Enter your password below

.


Practice: Three-Minute Breathing Space

.

This is very short exercise that can help us become aware of what we are feeling in the present moment, it  can help us to get in touch with what we’re feeling and allow acceptance to become a natural and automatic response.  Particularly when you have practiced some of the above meditations, this can be a very useful and quick way of bringing some space into your day.  Easily done, for example,  as you wait for bus, wait to the kettle to brew, or simply sit at your desk.

This practice has three parts and only takes three minutes to complete.

Step one:

Awareness:  The first step is attending to your experience, noticing it, without judgement.  Ask yourself:  how am I doing right now?  Focus your attention on your inner perception.  Notice the thoughts,  feelings and physical sensations you are experiencing.  Try to merely name those experiences,  such as ” these are self-critical thoughts”  or “this is tension”.  What are you feeling in your body?  Really allow yourself to feel what you are feeling in the current moment.  Accept it.  You can tell yourself that it is okay what you are feeling,  whatever is there is fine just the way it is. (About 1 minute)

Step two:

Focus on the breath: Next narrow your field of attention to single point, focusing your full attention on your breath. Follow the breathing with your attention. (About 1 minute)

Step three:

Attention to the body: In the third step you widen your attention again to include the rest of your body. Noticed the body and any sensations present, notice how your breath moves throughout your whole body. With every inbreath you can feel how your body expands a little and with each out breath how it shrinks a little. (About 1 minute)

.

Remember, as with the other practices, your attention may well be distracted by thoughts or feelings,  this is okay, this is normal, simply notice them,  observe them,  and then gently, without judgement,  return your attention to your breath or your body.

.


Loving Kindness Meditation


Loving-kindness means tender affection, here it is a wish that you and all other beings may be happy and free from suffering.  Loving-kindness meditation assists us to increase compassion and to be a better friend to ourselves. Just as in the meditations above, where the breath and the body are used as the focal point, this meditation uses the sentences in the Loving-Kindness meditation as the focus of our attention.  As the mind wanders, as it will, because that’s what minds do, we merely notice this and gently return out attention to the sentences.

.

Follow the instructions given to you in your Mindfulness Course Booklet (Module 6) for this Loving Kindness Meditation, and enter the password you were given below to download the Mp3.

If you would like information about joining me for a one-to-one 8 week mindfulness course please contact me here.