3 minute breathing space
(Segal et al., 2002).

Up until now, you have been using mindfulness to focus on routine activities (such as walking, brushing teeth, washing dishes, showering etc.).  Last module, you also learned how to use your breath as a focus for attention. 

Now that you have had a couple of weeks to practice mindfulness skills, it is time to learn a form of mindfulness that is very easily built-into your everyday life, without taking up too much of your time

You will learn to use what is called the 3-minute breathing space exercise in this module.  The 3-minute breathing space is a valuable tool in your everyday lives, and is something your can use long after this “formal training” is finished.

The 3-minute Breathing Space activity is a useful one to build into your daily routine. 

It is short, and designed to bring you into contact with the moment quickly. 

To make best use of the 3-minute Breathing Space, it is best to take a fairly specific posture — just like you did for the mindful breathing activity from last week.

So, take a few moments to adjust yourself in your chair, making sure you are in a relaxed and stable position, not touching the back of the chair.  As best you can, make your neck and back line up.  This will give you a sense of alertness.

Now, gently close your eyes.

Take some time to get yourself feeling comfortable and supported.

As best you can, gently allow yourself to become aware of what is going on with you at the moment — notice what is going through your mind, what thoughts are there at the moment…

As best you can, just notice that these thoughts are there, without trying to change them or control them. 
Notice what feelings are also present at the moment. 

Again, as best you can, simply notice that these feelings are present, without trying to change them or control them.
In particular, notice any discomfort or unpleasant feelings that are around at the moment. 

Just notice that they are there, without trying to push them away or shut them out — just recognise that those feelings are there.

Notice whether there are any physical sensations you can sense at the moment in your body. 

Are there areas of stress or tension present in your body at the moment? 

As best you can gently acknowledge that these sensations are there without trying to change them or control them, simply notice that they are present.

Just stay with this for a few moments.

Now that you have a real sense of what is going on at the moment, you have truly stepped out of automatic pilot.

The next step is to focus attention on a single thing to gather yourself together. 

As best you can, now bring your attention to your breathing — notice the movements of your breath as you breathe in and breathe out. 

As you really gather yourself, focus your attention on your breath, noticing how your stomach rises with each in-breath and falls as your breathe out.

As best you can, just spend a few moments focussing on your breathing — focus on your stomach as it slightly stretches as you breathe in, and how your stomach shrinks as you breathe out. 

Notice your breathing so that you know when your breath is moving in and when it is moving out.

As best you can, use your breathing to help anchor yourself to the present moment.

Just stay here for a few moments.

Now that you have gathered yourself, the final step is to allow your awareness to spread.
So, as well as being aware of your breath, gently start to notice your body as a whole. 

As best you can, open out your awareness so that you get a sense of your body as a whole, including any tightness in the shoulders, neck, back, or face, and just follow the breath as if your whole body is breathing as one.

Take a few moments to notice your whole body breathing as one…becoming gently aware of your body as a whole.

Just stay here for a few moments.

Then when you are ready, allow your eyes to open.