Mindfulness – Part 2 – Meditation

Welcome to the second part of Mindfulness where we will look at meditation.

In part one we looked at slowing things down and the importance of checking in with our mind to allow us to regulate our mood.

In this part we will be looking at how we meditate and its purpose.

Some people think that meditation is about emptying your mind of everything. This is not the case and is also not possible, as the chatter in our brain is our fight flight. What we need to do is anchor our thoughts on to something specific.

One of the go-to meditations, is connecting with the breath. Whilst concentrating on the breath in meditation, we will still notice thoughts entering our minds, but it is about recognizing when it happens. John Kabat Zinn who is a pioneer for mindfulness meditation said that ‘the magical moment of mindfulness’ is the moment you bring your thoughts back to the meditation after recognizing your mind has wondered.

I would like us to now try a very short breathing meditation, but it does have to come with a warning notice. If you have suffered trauma or have health anxiety it may be worth noting that connecting with the body maybe difficult as it may raise anxiety, so please stop if you find this is happening.

To prepare for the meditation I ask that you sit in a comfortable position, usually in an upright chair with both feet flat on the floor and your hands resting on your lap. You will need to close your eyes, or if this is not possible, lower your gaze.

Begin by taking three slow, easy deep breaths to relax and let go of whatever is laying heavy in your mind

Try to bring your attention to each breath. Pay attention to where you notice your breathing most strongly. Some people feel it in their nostrils, or maybe a cool feeling on their lips as you breathe. Others can feel there chest falling and rising, or may be in your abdomen as the belly expands with every in breath. Explore your body and discover where your breathing is easiest to notice.

Try to bring your attention to each breath. Pay attention to where you notice your breathing most strongly. Some people feel it in their nostrils, or maybe a cool feeling on their lips as you breathe. Others can feel there chest falling and rising, or may be in your abdomen as the belly expands with every in breath. Explore your body and discover where your breathing is easiest to notice.

Try to pay attention to the feelings of each exhalation and inhalation. Notice the air as you inhale, is it cold or warm? If breathing through your nose can you feel the hairs in your nostril move?

Whilst checking in with the breath don’t try and change it, just be at one with it

You may notice that your mind has wondered, that’s ok just gently bring your attention back to the breath without judgement.

With each breathe out, I would like you to lower your shoulders a little and let go of any tension you may be carrying there.

Being curious, notice if you can connect with the pause we take between each inhalation and exhalation. It may be only for a milli second but there will be a pause between each breath. 

You may become distracted by pain or discomfort in your body or twitching or itching sensations that draw your attention away from the breath. You may also notice feelings arising, perhaps sadness or happiness, frustration or contentment. Acknowledge whatever comes up including thoughts or stories about your experience. Simply notice without judgement and refocus your mind back to the breath.  Once complete, open your eyes and reengage with your surroundings.

Remember that the breath is always there as a refocusing tool to bring you back to the present moment. Try and connect with the breath through the day as a way of strengthening your attention and checking in with your mind.

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