While reading the “Smiling Mind: Mindfulness Made Easy” by Jane Martino and James Tutton, I came across many, and I do mean many, really useful mindfulness exercises. I find it extremely helpful when self help books become instructional, it makes it so much easier to put the theory into practice. It’s also makes it less stressful to glean results. Exercise 9 was one of my favourites, so I thought I’d share it with you. However I would definitely suggest picking up this book for more options. Alternatively there is also an app you can download and a website to visit.
So here we go:
Step 1: Sit or lie down, but try to maintain an aligned posture as you do so. You can use pillows or folded blankets to help ensure support, but be sure you feel comfortable in that position.
Step 2. Take some deep breaths, and observe how it goes in and out of your body. You can even place your hands on your belly and feel it expand and contract.
Step 3. Recall an experience or situation which made you extremely happy. Try to remember it in great detail, consider the sounds, smells and sights. See if you can relive it using all of your senses.
Step 4. Notice the physical sensations this memory elicits. Where and how do you feel happiness? Is it a warmth in your stomach? Do you feel butterflies? Take some deep breaths and explore these sensations, but be sure not to identify with the emotions. The goal is to observe rather than to experience.
Step 5. Take a few deep breaths and this time try to recall an unpleasant experience or situation. Something that made you feel angry or sad, and once more see if you can relive it in great detail.
Step 6. Once again explore the physical sensations this memory creates. Where does it manifest physically, and how is this different from the sensation of happiness? Let yourself observe the differences between them, while taking a step back from actually feeling these emotions.
Congratulations! You are all done. How do you feel?
Personally I really enjoy this exercise, it makes me feel in control of my emotions and more aware of how I am physically processing them. The breathing also allows me to stay calm, and see those situations in different ways.
Please let me know if you tried and enjoyed this exercise, or if you have any mindfulness exercises or books to recommend. I’d very much appreciate it.
Until next time 🙂