Investing a few minutes of your day into your wellbeing can make all the difference to your mental health. Set aside a few minutes, maybe the time it takes to drink your morning tea or coffee, when you can be quiet and won’t be disturbed to practice this mindfulness exercise.
Begin by bringing your attention to your breath. Notice your breathing as you slowly breathe in and out, perhaps imagining a balloon in your stomach, noticing the sensations in your stomach as the balloon inflates on the in breath and deflates on the out breath.
Notice any feelings you have and where they are felt.
Name the emotion:
- What is it?
- What word best describes what you are feeling?
- Angry, sad, anxious, irritated, scared, frustrated?
Accept the emotion. It’s a normal body reaction. It can be helpful to understand how it came about – think of the circumstances that have contributed to you feeling this way. Try not to condone or judge the emotion, simply let it move through you without resisting it or encouraging it.
Investigate the emotion:
- How intense is the feeling?
- How are you breathing?
- What are you feeling in your body? Where do you feel it?
- Where do you notice muscle tension?
- What is your posture like when you feel this emotion?
- What is your facial expression? What does your face feel like?
- Is anything changing? Such as the nature of the feeling, the position or intensity?
What thoughts or judgements do you notice? Focus on those thoughts, allow them to come into your mind and allow them to pass. If you find you are engaging with the thoughts by judging them or yourself for having them, believing them or struggling against them; notice what you are doing and bring your attention back to your breathing and to the physical sensations of the emotion.
If any other emotions come up or if anything changes simply notice and repeat the steps above. Notice the feelings change over time.
As you become more practiced you can use this mindfulness technique when you feel more intense emotions in times of stress. It might also be helpful to keep a note of your emotions and your investigations in a short diary, this can show you if there are any patterns to your emotions or reactions to situations.
If you are finding this technique difficult to master, try starting with our other blog Simple Mindfulness exercise first and progress to this exercise when you are more comfortable with being mindful.
Building stress management tools like this mindfulness exercise into your daily routine can positively influence for your mental health and the way you react to the outside world. If you need more help with managing stress or anxiety call us today on 01438 358174.