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Week 1 - Waking Up

This session is all abaout learning to connect to your breath and increasing your awareness

Welcome visitors to your site with a short, engaging introduction. 

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Mini Meditation - Awareness of Breath 

How did that make you feel?

In your ouranl Make a not of how you felt priot o doing the meditation, during and afetr.

so what eactly is mindfulness?
 

 Before you read on, just take a momntt o think about what your currenmt understanding of mindfulness is you may even want to jot it down in your journal.  

Sometimes its easier to tell you what mindfuless isn't

Mindfulness is not  . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mindfulness is . . .

  • Being fully present in the moment.

  • Narrowing our focus to our breath and body and/or our thoughts and feelings.

  • Paying attention to sensations within the body.

  • Paying attention to our thoughts and feelings.

  • Receiving information through our senses.

  • Developing an awareness of what is going on internally.

A Religion or Cult

A Religion or Cult

Although many religions around the world use the practice of mindfulness.

Time Consuming

Time Consuming

It can easily be inetgrated into every day life

Trying to empty your mind

Trying to empty your mind

It is impossible to rid your mind of all thought. We can narrow the focus though.

The aim and purpose of mindfulness is not relaxation

The aim and purpose of mindfulness is not relaxation

although this is a happy side effect.

being present

being present

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Definign Mindfulness

The most widely defiontion of mindfulness is that given by Jon Kabat Zinn the emeritus porfesstor of medicine at Massachutes University. he is credited with bringing the prctoce of mindgulnes to the west..

 he defines 'mindfulness as 

“. . . paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.”

Kabat Zinn, 1994

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Formal

WORLDWIDE

woman walking on road with trees on side

Informal

WORLDWIDE

The Senses

One of the most effective and easiest ways for us to re-engage with the present moment is through our senses. Have you ever heard the expression ‘taking time out to stop and smell the roses’? It is a really good reminder for us to stop and notice what is around us. To ground ourselves and bring ourselves back to a state of calm.

When we are in ‘doing’ mode we lose touch with our senses. For example, when you are busy working and eat lunch at your desk you rarely notice the flavours within it, because you are distracted and too busy to engage with your body and your senses.  By constantly ‘doing’ without making time to ‘just be’ we are causing a massive disconnect between ourselves, our bodies, our surroundings and our lives. When this ‘doing’ becomes out of control it can trigger a downwards spiral that can lead us to become dissatisfied with our own experience of life and can create dissatisfaction, sadness and even depression.

Further, we do not go out of our way to seek out sensory experiences. Remember as a teenager when you would listen to music, you might play the same song over and over again and hang on every note? When we are out of touch with our senses we lose touch with both the outer and inner worlds and no longer live ‘fully’ (Van Der Kolk, 2015). Mark Williams in his book “Finding Peace in a Frantic World” states:

“To be mindful means to be back in touch with your senses so you can see, hear, touch, smell and taste things as if for the first time, you become deeply curious about the world again”

 

Mark Williams, Finding Peace in a Frantic World (2011)

In other words, to connect with our senses helps us to wake up to the world again. To engage with the world on a more tangible level through our senses we can cultivate stronger and more satisfying experiences or quite simply, ‘live consciously’. Sensory interventions have been used widely for decades to help people with Autism reduce challenging behaviours with great effect. These interventions are used to help instil a level of tranquillity and help them to self regulate their own stress. Similarly, it is a common method used by mental health practitioners when treating those with PTSD by encouraging them to make contact with their senses when experiencing a flashback.  This technique can be used by anyone experiencing a heightened sense of stress and anxiety by helping them connect to their immediate environment and thereby achieving a rapid sense of peace and calm. These techniques are especially effective with children.

Asking the child to notice the change in their feelings is an important part of using sensory techniques.  It is this growth in awareness that will help to change the feelings and consequently the behaviours.

By engaging with our senses we can dispel anxiety and stress and bring ourselves back to a place where we relate better to both our inner and outer worlds.

 Eating Meditation

This meditation can be done with chcocolate, raisins, fruits or any other food stuff.

Over the next week try . . .

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