This is a free resource for any one I have taught; past, present or future.
If you have completed a mindfulness course in one of my classes or are simply curious about mindfulness; I welcome you to use these resources to help you on your journey. None of them are my invention, Mindfulness is an ancient art, but they are incredibly useful activities and really simple to use in everyday scenarios.
I have included three of my favourite mindfulness activities that I use regularly in the classroom and in my personal life. I never ask anyone to do something I wouldn't do myself.
Before you begin, please note: that you have all the qualities needed to be a mindfulness master, just like master Oogway. If you want to know what I mean by this, watch the film Kung Fu Panda and look at how different characters approach the same problem. Master Oogway has no idea what the answers are, he doesn't mind 'not knowing' but knows that having a calm and clear mind is the only way to find out.
Life consists only of moments, nothing more than that. So, if you make the moment matter, it all matters. Ellen Langer
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a mind
state where you are fully present, paying full attention to the experience
of life, noticing what is happening and paying attention to how you feel both physically and emotionally and to your decisions.
Try square breathing whils sitting or standing still. If you are exercising, reapeat the words breathing in and breathing out but try to breathe as you would during normal exercise.
Once you are comfortably sitting or standing still, take a few deep breaths.
When you breathe in, silently repeat the words 'breathing in' and when you breathe out, silently repeat the words 'breathing out'.
During the part where you hold your breath, silently repeat the words 'hold 2,3,4.
Repeat this for all four breaths.
Remember to breath deep into your belly feeling it expand and shrink with each breath.
A spot of Self Kindness
Start with square breathing. This time, during the holding part, silently repeat a kind comment you make about a person in your life that you love and respect. If you like, you can change the kind word each time you hold.
Repeat this until the square breathing exercise is complete.
Now repeat the square breathing exercise, but this time, silently repeat a kind comment aimed at yourself during the hold breath. It is essential to be our own best friend and to love and respect ourselves so that we can build inner strength to help cope when life is challenging.
Breathe in 2, 3, 4;
Hold and say to yourself, I am a good person;
Breathe out 2, 3, 4;
Hold and say to yourself, I believe in myself;
Breathe in 2, 3, 4;
Hold and say, I have the confidence to be myself;
Breath out 2, 3, 4;
Hold and say to yourself I respect and love myself.
Here are a few self-affirmations to get you started:
What is the opposite of acceptance? It is anger.
It is okay to feel angry. We all do at times. If we are angry, we can say to ourselves, 'I notice you anger,' and get on with our day. But if we are overwhelmed with anger, which all humans feel from time to time, it is because we want to change or control something that we can’t.
What is the opposite of anger? The answer is acceptance.
Mindfulness can help train us to accept and tolerate uncomfortable feelings rather than trying to get rid of them.
Thoughts lead to feelings.
Feelings lead to actions.
Can you learn to notice the thought before it becomes a feeling - and let it go?
Can you notice how you're feeling and ask yourself what thought caused it - and let it go?
Can you notice how you're feeling and sit with it for a while? Acting only when you are calm?
It is not easy, mindfulness certainly helps us to notice our feelings more easily and exercise can help us control our body's response to big feelings.
We can learn to be more curious about feelings of anger by noticing them and challenging the thoughts. Take the thought to court! We want to try and move away from angry actions (that can hurt ourselves and others) towards actions that are considered and kind. This is not easy to do, but with time and practise, it is possible. I find the best way to do this is with physical exercise. Here are some activities to practise alongside a simple breathing technique to help you engage with your curious mind and help you feel less overwhelmed.
Complete your chosen activity, one from my list or one of your own, repeating the simple breathing mantra (saying the words breathing in when you breathe in and breathing out when you breathe out). Replace the mantra by silently repeating the phrase, ‘I see you anger’ or ‘I see you frustration’. Notice your feelings at all times; notice how they change. Notice where in your body you feel this. See if you can let it go. Does the intensity of feeling decrease?
A Final Thought
How do you feel? What did you notice? What have you found easy? Difficult? What activities will you add to your daily, weekly, and monthly routine?
Are you mind full?