Overwhelmed by the prospect of a busy Christmas? You may benefit from some mindful thinking to gain inner peace this month, and beyond. â€œItâ€™s better to practise a little bit of mindfulness each day, rather than an hour or so here and there,â€ explains Anna Black, author of A Year of Living Mindfully (Â£12.99, Cico Books). â€œMindfulness helps us to surf the waves of life rather than letting ourselves be swept away by them â€“ we may still feel emotions strongly, but mindfulness helps us to recover from them more quickly, and the mind and body to return to a steady equlibrium much faster.â€
So if youâ€™re looking to spend less time in your head this December, or want to tackle challenging situations more serenely, use these handy exercises to help you achieve a desired state of calm. MONDAY SCAN THE BODY l Find somewhere comfortable and focus your attention on your breath. Notice the sensations you experience: the expansion and contraction of the lungs, the rising and falling of the chest l Move your attention to the tops of your feet, starting with your big toes. Observe any feelings that might be present (tingling, warmth, coolnessâ€¦) and any thoughts or emotions that may arise l Now move your focus to the soles.
Imagine that your feet are breathing and that air is entering and leaving through them. Do this for about a minute and then, letting go of the breath, take your attention to the ankles. Continue in this way upwards, towards your head, through the different areas of the body l Once youâ€™ve completed the body scan, imagine your breath entering through your head, sweeping through your body and leaving through the soles of your feet.