Mindfulness meditation is a form of mental training. It is quite simple, yet can be quite a challenge, especially if you haven't practised it before, in the same way that lifting weights in the gym would be difficult if you haven't done it before.
During a mindfulness meditation, you are practising keeping your mind on just one thing at a time. Your mind will wander - that's just what it does, don't worry it's expected! See it as your job to notice when your mind has wandered, and to bring it back to what you wanted to be focusing on. Be kind to yourself, and try not to berate yourself for this mind wondering. After all, you're only human! It doesn't matter if your mind wanders 1000 times, practice patience with yourself.
Each time you notice your mind wandering, you are being mindful, and you are strengthening this muscle of awareness.
Mindfulness meditations practice focusing on just one thing at a time e.g. your breathing, sounds, thoughts, sensations. Below are some instructions for a mindful breathing meditation.
Settle into a comfortable position, if possible with your spine erect and shoulders relaxed.
Bring your attention to the physical sensations, focusing your attention on the sensations of touch in the body where it is in contact with the floor or whatever you are sitting or lying on. Spend a few moments exploring these sensations.
Now see if you can bring your awareness to the breath as it moves in and out of the body at the abdomen. Notice the changing patterns of physical sensations in this region of the body as the breath moves in and out. It might help to place your hand here for a few breaths and feel the abdomen rising and falling.
You might notice mild sensations of stretching is the abdomen gently rises with each in breath and different sensations as the abdomen falls with each out breath.
As best you can, follow closely with your attention so you notice the changing physical sensations for the full duration of each in breath and the full duration of each out breath, maybe noticing slight pauses between one in breath and the next out breath, and between one out breath in the next in breath.
There’s no need to control your breathing in any way at all, simply let the breath breathe itself.
Every time you notice your mind wondering away, gently bring your attention back to focusing on your breathing sensations.
Once you've practised for your desired amount of time, open your eyes and stretch.
Maria Hancock,, Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapist, Mindfulness Teacher, NLP Practitioner, MSc Health Psychology