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Mindfulness exercises allow you to be able to identify, tolerate and reduce difficult, painful and even frightening thoughts, feelings and sensations. Mindfulness gives you back some sense of mastery over our thoughts and feelings. Rather than having the sense that you are being pushed around by your feelings and thoughts you learn to be able to have some agency over them.

mindfulness exercises

So what is this thing called mindfulness? Below are some definitions:

  • The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment to moment (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).
  • The non-judgmental observation of the ongoing stream of internal and external stimuli as they arise (Baer, 2003).
  • Keeping one’s complete attention to the experience on a moment to moment basis (Martlett & Kristeller, 1999).

Put simply, mindfulness is as simple as becoming aware of your here and now experience, both internally and in the external world around you. It gives you a space in the present moment to be able to more safely deal with the distressing and painful memories of things that might have happened to you in the past. It also allows you to look at and plan for the future, even when you might have fearful thoughts about things that haven’t yet happened, from a secure position of knowing that you are in the present moment. In fact, we are never NOT in the present moment – we just lose track of that fact quite often.

Sometimes it is easier to understand something in terms of what it is not. Here are some examples of mindLESSness:

  • Breaking things, spilling things, clumsiness, accidents because of carelessness, inattention or thinking about something else.
  • Failing to notice subtle or not-so-subtle feelings of physical discomfort, pain, tension etc.
  • Forgetting someone’s name as soon as you hear it.
  • Listening to someone with one ear while doing something else at the same time.
  • Getting so focussed on goals that I lose touch with what I am doing right now.
  • Getting lost in my thoughts and feelings.
  • Being preoccupied with the future or the past.
  • Eating without being aware of eating.
  • Having periods of time where you have difficulty remembering the details of what happened – running on autopilot.
  • Reacting emotionally in certain ways – feeling like an emotion just “came out of nowhere”.
  • Daydreaming or thinking of other things when doing chores.
  • Doing several things at once rather than focussing on one thing at a time.
  • Distracting yourself with things like eating, alcohol, pornography, drugs, work.

If you do some or even most of these things at times, then you are probably a normal member of the human race.

Mindfulness exercises

We have provided a number of downloadable mindfulness strategies in this section. These pages include audio mindfulness exercises you can download, and also PDF files you can read over. You can download them to a CD or straight to an iPod or MP3 player. Use the ones that seem most helpful to you. After using the recordings for a while you may find that it is easier to just practice mindfulness without them. You might find you are developing your own mindfulness strategies that work well for you.

  1. Introduction
  2. Mindfulness of the External World
  3. Eating Mindfulness
  4. Walking Mindfulness
  5. Breathing Mindfulness
  6. Body Scan
  7. External World and Breath
  8. Mindfulness of Thoughts
  9. Thoughts, Body Sensations and Emotions
  10. Compassion Mindfulness
  11. Mountain Meditation
  12. Alternate Nostril Breathing
  13. Mindfulness of Physical Discomfort
  14. Mindfulness of Difficult/Painful Thoughts
  15. Empty Bowl Meditation

Note: We would like to express our appreciation to Kent Smith and Janine Hills for the development of these valuable resources. Should anyone wish to purchase a complete CD of these Mindfulness Exercises, please contact us with a return email address and we will pass your enquiry on to Kent.

Another great website discussing the value of Mindfulness is Jim Hopper’s page on Mindfulness and Kindness at www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness.

 

10 comments

  1. Comment by Linda

    Linda June 20, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    quero compartilhar em meu facebook

  2. Comment by Anonymous

    Anonymous June 20, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Really grateful for these exercises – finding them very helpful

  3. Comment by Anonymous

    Anonymous June 20, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    The exercises are very helpful. I will definitely be sharing them. Just what I was looking for.

  4. Comment by yesand

    yesand June 20, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    What a wonderful resource and contribution to the development and enhancement of mental health.

  5. Comment by Anonymous

    Anonymous June 20, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Is it possible to have written handouts of these audios as I find that reading them to participants is sometimes better received than listening to an anonymous voice?

    • Comment by Jess

      Jess June 20, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      We have included a PDF worksheet for each mindfulness exercise. Although the attached worksheets may not be an exact transcript of the mp3 audio file, they will hopefully provide sufficient material for reading and adapting to the group’s needs. All the best from the team at Living Well.

  6. Comment by J Duncan

    J Duncan June 20, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    I love these exercises! I use them to teach mindfulness to anxious teenagers. They have really enjoyed it and have displayed a reduction in stress levels and a greater sense of peace within themselves. I also love the handouts as it gives them the opportunity to practice on their own. I will use these exercises again and again! Thank you!

  7. Comment by Julie

    Julie June 28, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    These are excellent exercises. Great that they are concise and on one sheet to print and also have the MP3 versions. Thankyou!

  8. Comment by Wesley

    Wesley August 26, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Great exercises for mindful living. We can’t change what we don’t see, so learning to see with greater attention to detail and to deploy our attention with greater nuance and care is a very powerful art that I enjoy writing about myself. Good job!

  9. Comment by Jean Rees

    Jean Rees September 18, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I would like to purchase the cd of mindfulness exercises

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