Mindfulness meditation is the practice of being in the present moment, aware of everything that is happening in our conscious space. Being aware of our breath, feeling our body sensations, hearing the sounds that are around us, recognising the thoughts that go through our minds.
When you are practicing mindfulness you are truly living in the present – not thinking about the past or planning the future, just allowing yourself to be in the here and now.
Mindfulness is easy to describe but not so easy to practice. It takes repetition to master the art of mindfulness. Having said this, mindfulness is something that we are all capable of doing once we have been instructed how to do so.
Take ten minutes out of your day and follow the instructions below. Don’t judge yourself if you find it difficult. Don’t be harsh on yourself if you find that you are deep in thought rather than in the present moment. Just take a few deep breaths and begin again.
Mindfulness meditation instructions
- Sit comfortably, in an upright position, on a chair or bed. It is better not to lie down.
- Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
- Feel the weight of your body where it makes contact with the chair or bed. Notice any sensations in your body. You might feel tingling, warmth, itching, vibrations or pressure. The sensations may feel good or uncomfortable. Just notice them for what they are, sensations.
- Pay attention to your breathing. Notice where you feel your breath the most. It may be your nose, your lips, your chest or your abdomen. Don’t try to control your breath. Just notice it as it comes and goes naturally.
- As you focus on the in and out of your breath you will also notice other sensations and emotions in your body and sounds in the space around you. Simply notice these sensations and sounds as they come into your awareness, and then return to focus on your breath. Your awareness is a space that sensations and sounds pass through and you simply observe them as they do so. You are not trying to control anything.
- When your attention wanders and you find that you are lost in thought, recognise that you are in thought, then simply return your focus back to your breath and start observing the other sensations in and around you again.
- Continue with this practice of focus and observing for the time period that you want to meditate.
Try to take spare moments from your day to quietly focus on your breath and observe the sensations within you and the sounds around you. This is especially helpful if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. It is a practice you can do at any time, anywhere.
With practice the art of mindfulness meditation becomes easier and the benefits increasingly pronounced.