In this video, Jonny explains how you might try a mindful eating exercise. This video is two minutes and fifty-one seconds long.
Tips on getting the most from mindfulness
To get the most out of mindfulness exercises, try your best to:
Pay attention. Focus on things you can see, hear, smell, taste or touch. For example, when you take a shower, make a special effort to really pay attention to how the water feels on your skin.
Take notice. When your mind wanders, which is just what minds do, simply notice where your thoughts have drifted to. Some people find it helpful to name and acknowledge the feelings and thoughts that come up. For example, you could think to yourself 'this is a feeling of anger, or 'here is the thought that I'm not good enough.
Be aware and accepting. Notice and be aware of the emotions you are feeling or sensations in your body. You don't need to try and get rid of any feelings or thoughts. Try to observe and accept these feelings with friendly curiosity, and without judgement.
Choose to return. Choose to bring your attention back to the present moment. You could do this by focusing on your breathing or another sensation in your body. Or you could focus on your surroundings – what you can see, hear, smell, touch or taste.
Be kind to yourself. Remember that mindfulness can be difficult and our minds will always wander. Try not to be critical of yourself. When you notice your mind wandering, you can just gently bring yourself back to the exercise.
"It sounded like a big undertaking but I was keen to get started. It felt like I might be about to discover something new about how my mind works."
Practical tips for mindfulness
To get more out of mindfulness exercises, there are some practical things you can try to help improve your experience:
Set aside regular time to practise. Regular, short periods of mindfulness can work better than occasional long ones. If you struggle to find the time, try choosing one or two things you already do daily and do them mindfully. For example, you could practise mindfulness while doing the washing up or taking a shower.
Make yourself comfortable. It can help to do mindfulness in a space where you feel safe and comfortable and won't be easily distracted. Some people also find that it helps to be outdoors or surrounded by nature.
Take it slowly. Try to build up your practice bit by bit. You don't need to set ambitious goals or put pressure on yourself. Remember, you’re learning a new skill that will take time to develop.
Don't worry about whether you're doing it right. Try not to worry about doing the exercises correctly. Focus on using them in the ways that are most helpful for you. Many people find it takes a while to feel comfortable doing mindfulness exercises.
"Mindfulness makes me feel safe because even when I can't access my counsellors, carers, medication and relapse prevention plan, mindfulness is still there. Nothing can take it away."
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