Overwhelmed by the prospect of a busy Christmas? You may benefit from some mindful thinking to gain inner peace this month, and beyond. It’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). Mindfulness helps us to surf the waves of life rather than letting ourselves be swept away by them 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 you’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 you’ve completed the body scan, imagine your breath entering through your head, sweeping through your body and leaving through the soles of your feet.