Today, we are going to practice using mindfulness skills to focus attention on your breathing.

By focussing on your breath, and by practicing staying with this focus, your thoughts, feelings and sensations can come and go without your mind latched onto them.  This can help break the automatic pilot mode that you may find yourself in.

Let’s start by sitting up in your chair so that you feel alert and stable. 

This means sitting forward on your chair so that the chair does not touch your back.  Make sure your head, neck and back is roughly in a straight line. 

This new mindfulness technique can be used to step out of automatic pilot.  You can use it to focus on the present, rather than the worries and negative thoughts of the day.

Just like in mindful walking and other mindfulness activities, your mind will probably wander throughout this exercise. 

This is normal and to be expected. 

When this does happen, just do the same thing as you do during mindful walking - simply acknowledge that your mind has wandered off and gently bring your attention and focus back to your breath, no matter what your mind has wandered off too.

We will practice this activity for a few minutes in total.

OK

Close eyes and begin to breathe normally - don’t force your breath, or breath too quickly, not too fast or slow - just breathe as usual.

Firstly, as best as you can, bring attention to the physical sensations of sitting on the chair. 

Notice where each part of the body touches on the chair - the backs of your legs, your arms and hands - and notice the pressure of your body as you sit on your chair, and where your feet touch the floor. 

Just spend a minute or so noticing all these sensations - pay as close attention as you can.

Now bring your awareness to the rise and fall of your stomach as you breathe in…and out. 
You may like to place your hand over your stomach to help you focus on the rise and fall of your stomach as you breathe in…and out. 

As best you can, focus your awareness on the physical sensations of your stomach as you breathe in…and out. 

Once you have focussed on these sensations, move your hand away from your stomach, while still paying attention to the rise and fall of your stomach.

Notice the slight stretching of your stomach as you breathe in…and how your stomach shrinks as you breathe out. 

As best you can, follow these changes all the way through as your breath enters your body…and all the way through until your breath leaves your body, perhaps noticing the slight pause between the in-breath and the out-breath, and then between the out-breath and your next breath in.

There is no need to control your breathing - no need to make it faster or slower - just breathe as you would on any other occasion, and let your breath breathe itself. 

Just stay here for a few moments now, breathing in…and out.

Remember there is no special state to be achieved here, just to focus your attention onto your experiences of breathing.

Your mind will probably wander off to other thoughts and other feelings as you focus on your breath. 

This is OK, this is normal, this is what minds do. 

It doesn’t mean you are doing this wrong, or making a mistake. 

Once you realise that your mind is focussing on other things - other thoughts, worries, daydreams, feelings - simply acknowledge that this has happened, and as best you can, gently bring your attention and focus back onto your breath again - the rise and fall of your stomach, the stretching and shrinking of your stomach as you breathe in…and out.

As best you can, be patient with this experience.

The idea is to keep yourself here, with your breath, focussed on these sensations as if you never have experienced them before.

As best you can, follow these changes all the way through as your breath enters your body…and all the way through until your breath leaves your body, perhaps noticing the slight pause between the in-breath and the out-breath, and then between the out-breath and your next breath in.

Just stay here for a few moments now, breathing in…and out.  Let your breath breathe itself. 

As best you can, focus your awareness on the physical sensations of your stomach as you breathe in…and out. 

Just stay here for a few moments now, breathing in…and out.  Noticing all the experiences that go together to make up your breath.

Slowly, and gently, now, bring your focus back to your body as a whole.

When you are ready, bring your focus back to the room you are in at the moment.

When you are done, walk slowly over to the computer and click to continue.








Focusing on breathing