Mindfulness of Breath
Mindfulness is an exercise that involves focusing on what is happening in the present moment and observing your thoughts and emotions as they come and go. Research has established that practising mindfulness reduces feelings of stress and anxiety and promotes relaxation. When we focus on what is happening in the present moment, we become less caught up in our thoughts, worries, emotions and physical sensations. Mindfulness reminds us that no matter where we are or what we are doing we can always regroup and focus on the moment. One of the benefits of mindfulness is that it can be practised anywhere, anytime.
You can incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life by remaining aware of your breath when you are eating, watching television, having a shower or cleaning. In fact by doing so, you will likely find some of the tasks we tend to put off such as cleaning or washing dishes are not so awful after all, rather it is our thoughts about such tasks that are unpleasant. When you practice mindfulness meditation you encourage your mind to remain in the present moment; the more often you practice mindfulness, the more familiar this neural pathway becomes in the brain and the easier it is to gain some distance from your thoughts and worries.
Mindfulness of Breath - Continued
Breathing is something that we do all the time, without conscious awareness. By practising mindfulness of the breath we use the breath as the point of our concentration, as a way to anchor ourselves in the present moment. In the mindfulness of breath exercise we simply practise observing the breath, without reacting or changing the breath in any way. If you are new to this practise, you may notice that when you start focusing on the breath, you will be aware of the mind’s tendency to wander off and become distracted. This is very normal! If you notice that this happens during practise, simply notice that this has happened and then with a nonjudgmental and accepting attitude, simply bring your attention back to your breath. Practising mindfulness of the breath includes the following:
- Focus: take a single full breath in
- Observe: notice the breath arising in the body as you inhale and notice the exhale of the breath
- Refocus: if you notice that your mind has wandered simply refocus your attention back to the breath
If you choose to do mindfulness of breath, please try to:
- Do this twice a day over the next few weeks.
- Use the guided audio or text-based version of the guided-audio exercise (found in ”Practise Tools’ & ‘Downloads’ boxes below) to assist you with your daily practise.
- Complete the self-monitoring form (pdf version found in ‘Downloads’ box below) before and after each practise.
Note: You are also able to listen to the guided-audio with one of the the relaxation videos in the box below. Just press play on the audio and then play on the video. You can also switch to ‘full-screen’.
In this box you will find two guided-audios and four relaxation videos to help you with your daily practise.
- The first guided audio (introduction) explains ‘why to do it’ and the second (exercise) is the actual guided exercise itself (what you will use when doing the daily practise).
Mindfulness of Breath: Introduction
Mindfulness of Breath: Exercise
In this box you will find two pdfs that you can download to assist you with your practise.
- The first is a text-based version of the guided-audios above and the second is a self-monitoring practise form.
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