Being present and mindful

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the foundation of self-compassion and has the potential to help people become aware of their difficulties, bring compassion to their lives with greater wisdom and the ability to respond with kindness.

Being mindful in daily life

Mindful awareness can be practised by bringing attention to hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, or tasting. It can be practised throughout the day, by becoming aware of what we are doing – take time to focus on the sensory moments you experience throughout the day.

In deliberately taking the time to allow yourself to focus on these moments you can slow down and tune into the sensations of mindful awareness rather than the thoughts about doing it. You can pause to feel the sunshine on your face and take a mindful breath.

Practising a routine activity mindfully can help to bring mindfulness and wakefulness into your daily life.

See if you can choose an activity for each day, or for the next week, and practice paying attention whilst doing it. Maybe you’d like to choose one sensory experience to immerse yourself in the activity and savour it, such as:

  • having a shower
  • brushing your teeth
  • walking from one room to another
  • eating a snack
  • drinking a cup of tea
  • listening to music
  • choose a self-soothing activity and do it mindfully.

Feeling the soles of your feet

This practice is designed to help you feel grounded and stabilised when you become upset or overwhelmed. Practicing this can help regulate strong emotions such as, frustration or even anger.

  • Stand up and try to notice the sensations in the soles of your feet on the floor.
  • Try rocking forward and back a little, and side to side.
  • Make little circles with your knees, feeling the changes of sensation in the soles of your feet.
  • When you notice your mind has wandered, just start feeling the soles of your feet again.
  • If you wish, you can begin to walk slowly, noticing the changing sensations in the soles of your feet.
  • Notice the sensation of lifting a foot, stepping forward, and then placing the foot on the floor, doing the same with both feet as you walk.
  • As you walk, try noticing for a moment how small the surface area of your feet is, and how hard your feet work to keep your body off the ground. See if you can notice that with appreciation or gratitude.
  • When you are ready, return to standing or sitting.

Stop and take a moment

One of the easiest ways to calm and re-centre yourself during a stressful situation is simply to STOP.

You can use the STOP acronym as a brief mindfulness practice at any point of any day.

STOP

Stop what you are doing.
Take three deep breaths.
Observe what you are feeling in your body, your emotions and thoughts, relaxing or softening if needed.
Proceed with what you are doing.

Try using STOP during any transitional moment, before having a challenging conversation, before a meeting/call, entering a room, etc. You are giving yourself a little space and attention to be able to be mindful and self-regulate.

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