Mindfulness exercises

Mindfulness practice allows you to be able to identify, tolerate and reduce difficult, painful and even frightening thoughts, feelings and sensations; it gives you back some sense of mastery over them. Rather than feeling that you are being pushed around by your feelings and thoughts you learn to be able to have some agency over them.

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 Strategies

We have provided a number of downloadable mindfulness exercises in this section. 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.

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

 

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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 lev

Jan 29, 2014 by Anonymous

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!


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

Jan 12, 2014 by Anonymous

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?


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

Jan 12, 2014 by Anonymous

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


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

Nov 18, 2013 by Anonymous

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


Really grateful for these exercises - finding them very helpful

Jul 10, 2013 by Anonymous

Really grateful for these exercises - finding them very helpful


quero compartilhar em meu facebook

Jun 11, 2013 by Anonymous

quero compartilhar em meu facebook

Response: Thank you so much for sharing our work :)


Living Well , 4.2 5.0 6 6 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 pea

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