When we practise worrying, the worrying circuits of the brain are reinforced. When we practise gratitude, the brain becomes more capable of noticing the good in our lives. When we practise mindfulness meditation, it forms new neural pathways that support focus, calm and emotional balance. And with daily practice, you may notice that you …
Bring mindfulness of the body to ordinary moments in your day
The Mindful STOP
This practice is a way of pausing and physically catching your breath throughout the day. It’s a quick and simple way to remember to connect with yourself, which creates greater potential for presence and wisdom in daily life.
Steps to practising the mindful STOP
S – Stop.
T – Take three mindful breaths, feeling the sensation of the breath flowing.
O – Observe the body, notice any tension and actively let it go.
P – Proceed with your day.
Set an alarm on your phone to ring at four random times during the day with the word STOP. You could also write the word STOP on some sticky notes and leave them in places you regularly see, such as the shower, the toilet, on your laptop, or in your car. When you see these reminders, pause for a few moments to practise the STOP exercise. As you continue to practice the guided body scan each day and the STOP practice this week, remember that the purpose of mindfulness is not to create a particular state of mind, but rather to be aware of whatever state is present.
Just like getting physically fit, you need to commit to the practice to experience the results of a mind that is functioning at its best.
The Mindful Shower
Rather than being lost in thought during your shower, direct your attention to your senses as a way of anchoring yourself to the present moment.
The four steps to having a mindful shower
A mindful tea break
This is an edited extract from Dr Elise Bialylew’s new book, THE HAPPINESS PLAN (Affirm Press), $24.99. Available now at all good bookstores and online.