Mindfulness Exercises – Attention Training

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Mindfulness Exercises

1. Attention training
– Builds your ability to manage your mind more effectively,
– it does thus by moving your attention around the body & then on to the breath

– – get in a comfortable position
– relax body
– rest hands on laps
– close eyes/leave open – your choice
– take 3 long deep breaths
– let go of expectations about this activity’s usefulness & allow yourself to be fully present
– become aware of body – feet on floor
– do a complete body scan
– if you notice thoughts – that is Norman- in fact the mind’s job is to think
– thank mind for thought then return attention to the breath
– focus upon the belly – it’s rise & fall
– attention now on torso – focus on heart – steady breathing
– focus on back
– shoulders, arms, hands – notice fingers touching – no judgement – just be aware
– neck & throat
– face – smooth the brow
– head & scalp – allow to soften
– now to breath – notice how it goes in & out – be curious as if first time you have ever noticed your breath
– leave breath & back to body
– scan back down the body to the feet
– attention back to where you are & recall your surroundings

[let attention rest on each part of the body & the breath]

2. Informal practice – Be where you are
– Choose one routine activity in your day that you do on autopilot (that is, without much conscious thought). For example:
– Brushing your teeth
– Having a shower
– Making breakfast

– Use the activity to get yourself out of autopilot and back into the present moment
– Each time you notice your mind wander
– notice with curiosity what your thoughts
– give thanks to your mind for those thoughts and then
– with patience and kindness (for yourself) bring your attention back to your activity

– Congratulations you’ve just started exercising mindfulness and the power of attention to the present moment

3. Non-Judgment

– Pay attention to your tendency to judge yourself and your environment as good or bad – – decide how these judgements are serving you
– you may like to ask yourself “How useful is this thought? Is it helping me or not helping me?”
[no longer at the mercy of negative bias & judgment]

How? [7 mins]
– get in a comfortable position
– relax body
– take 3 long deep breaths
– let go of expectations about this activity’s usefulness & allow yourself to be fully present
– start body scan
– focus on feet
– then move to knees
[notice what you notice]
– then move to the thighs & buttocks
– notice thoughts – be curious – then let them go
– bring attention back to the thighs/buttocks
[do not assess thoughts]
– move to stomach
[notice what you notice – notice activity of the mind]
– bring attention to your torso & chest
[notice sensations but do not judge]
– bring attention and awareness to shoulders, arms, hands
– allow areas to soften
– notice judgments of right & wrong, good or bad – thank mind & let go of thoughts
– then move to neck & face & soften
– then scan all body again back to feet & then open eyes when ready

4. Informal practice – Our judging mind

– Bring attention to your tendency to judge yourself
– How often do you notice your internal voice criticising or assessing your thoughts and emotions or behaviours?
– Do you notice yourself saying “I am too X” or “not enough Y”?
– how useful is this for you?
– When you notice a judgemental thought, watch it with humour & openness and choose the impact it has on you.
– Remember – you can always choose to let your thoughts pass by like clouds in the sky floating by



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