Mindfulness can be a useful tool to help us to be calm and 'in the moment', for the short-term and for the longer term. Mindfulness is the opposite of being absent-minded or on autopilot: 'Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment' (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
We’ve brought together advice from a couple of sources, as below: the first is a practical guide on mindfulness breathing if you feel yourself starting to get stressed; the second is more work-oriented, with guidance on mindfulness approaches.
1) Managing Stress with Mindfulness, courtesy of Be Mindful Online
The 3 Minute Breathing Space
Use the three-minute breathing space in moments of stress, when you are troubled in thoughts or feelings. You can use it to step out of automatic pilot; to reconnect with the present moment and your own inner wisdom.
Bring yourself into the present moment by deliberately adopting a dignified posture. Then ask: 'What's going on with me at this moment? What thoughts, feelings and body sensations am I experiencing right now?'
You could put your inner experience into words, for example, say in your mind, 'A feeling of anger is arising' or 'self-critical thoughts are here' or 'my stomach is clenched and tense.'
Gently bring your full attention to the breathing. Experience fully each in-breath and each out-breath as they follow one after the other. It may help to note at the back of your mind 'breathing in...breathing out', or to count the breaths. Let the breath function as an anchor to bring you into the present and to help you tune into a state of awareness and stillness.
Expand your awareness around the breathing to the whole body, and the space it takes up, as if your whole body is breathing. Especially take the breath to any discomfort, tension or resistance you experience, 'breathing in' to the sensations. While breathing out, allow a sense of softening, opening, letting go. You can also say to yourself 'it's ok to feel whatever I'm feeling.' Include a sense of the space around you too. Hold everything in awareness. As best you can, bring this expanded awareness into the next moments of your day.
2) Tips taken from the Mindful Workplace by Michael Chaskalson
For a beginner's guide to mindfulness meditation, try Jon Kabat Zinn's 'Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life'
You might like to try another breathing exercise: Benson’s Relaxation Technique.
For advice and guidance on promoting wellbeing and resilience and preventing stress, please contact us via email or on 0118 3283246.