Mindfulness has been very important to me during this past year. It has helped me feel less overwhelmed, positively changed the way I think and feel about experiences, increased my ability to manage difficult situations, reduced levels of anxiety, depression and stress, helped me to control over thinking and given me greater self-compassion. Now, that sounds like quite a list of benefits, which is why I would think mindfulness is so highly spoken of and promoted in mental health circles. It was my CBT therapist that advised I try some mindfulness techniques, and from there I was able to incorporate them into my day-to-day life and routine.
Many mindfulness activities can be utilised at various points during your day or in different situations, but as with any skill it takes time and practice. This is why I try to start each day with a quick mindfulness task. I find it helps me focus and start my day in a positive head space.
Because I have found this so beneficial and I’m wanting my blog to be a space of positivity, I thought I would share a 5-10 minute mindfulness activity on my blog once a week every Monday. Being a lover of alliteration, I have decided to call these posts ‘Mindfulness Monday’ (sorry for the lack of originality). I am by no means an expert and have only been practising for a short time, but I wish to start the week with positive, mindful vibes. If you wish to do the same, I hope you enjoy reading this and get as much out of these activities as I do.
This is a 5-minute activity, taken from The Little Book of Mindfulness by Dr Patrizia Collard, to help us ‘be in the now’.
Dr Patrizia Collard says ‘Living moment by moment, and seeing everything afresh without judgement and worry lets us experience life rather than simply get through it.’ She continues that ‘This exercise helps us to breathe more fully, and strengthens and awakens us to face the day with confidence and calm.’
The activity can be done standing or sitting if need be.
- Stand in Mountain Pose (see below for more details), with the spine lengthened upwards and the legs and feet hip-width apart. Position the arms by your sides, palms to the front, so the thumbs face outwards.
- Inhale and sweep/lift your arms slowly up and overhead until the hands meet above the head, palms touching. Exhale slowly as you lower the arms back down to your sides, moving slowly with your breathing. See if you can deepen and lengthen your breathing, and try to feel the pause after each breath.
- Repeat 5-8 times.
Although simple, this is one of my favourite activities. I find focussing on breathing linked with the movement of the arms incredibly calming and I always feel mentally lighter after performing it. This is an activity I always try to start my morning with.
Mountain Pose – This is a yoga pose that helps you feel connected to the earth, letting your body and mind exist in the here and now. It strengthens legs and improves posture. For more information on how to perform this pose go to: https://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/how-to-do-mountain-pose-in-yoga.
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Thank you for reading.
Mrs P x x x
If you wish to read about mindfulness in more detail, the document below has a lot of very useful information: