I embarked on an 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course a few years ago to learn about Mindfulness practice in a formal way, but many people have come across it from Yoga and if you take 30 seconds right now to notice your breath...Seriously, right now, take a moment...notice your breath, notice the air coming into your nostrils and then out again.
If you did that, you have just experienced mindfulness too! Being mindful is about being present, noticing what is here right now, ideally without judgement.
In our busy lives it is easy to get caught up with all that is going on around us, we are bombarded from all sides and it is sometimes hard to shut things out. But just this one exercise, noticing your breath, can give you a well deserved break.
So why would you try Mindfulness?
The benefits include; reducing stress, improving problem solving skills, increasing resilience, helping us experience more joy and can also help us to respond thoughtfully rather than just react.
The list of benefits is longer and there is extensive research to support most of the claims - but for me it is all about whether things work or not and how I can apply them easily into my life.
Mindfulness is not about stilling the mind, it is about focusing it. And when it wanders, because it will, every time you notice, you simply bring it back again. This may happen 20 times in a minute to start with, but with a little practise it gets easier and you can keep that focus for longer.
I like the simplicity of this breathing exercise - just noticing the breath and in particular how it enters the nostrils and exits the nostrils gives you a point of focus and you can use it any time.
Feeling overwhelmingly tired? Sudden rush of rage?
Feeling nervous or anxious? Just need a break?
Try it for 1 minute...
Get a stop watch or look at a clock. We are going to roughly work out how many normal breaths you take in a minute. Mine usually works out about 12 at rest, but yours could be much lower or higher. It doesn’t matter - there is no judgement on this. The only purpose is to know how long a minute is so that you can do this in the future without needing to look at a clock.
Now you know how many breaths in a minute you take, you can do the 1 Minute Mindfulness Exercise
We've made a 1 Minute Meditation Mini Guide for you to download and print to remind you to try the above steps. Download it here >>
Practice it, try it out and let me know in the comments how you get on, or connect with me over on my Facebook page.
Clare Martin is a the founder of the Positive Teacher Network who specialises in helping teachers to find the ultimate Work Life Balance and supports them with many of the difficulties teachers face today.
The Positive Teacher Network provides practical tips and strategies to busy, tired teachers to help them improve their lives allowing them to focus on being great teachers.