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Relax? What’s That?! All about Sitting and Active Mindfulness

If you’ve gone from a frantic schedule of work commutes, driving kids to sport and a busy social life, the extra available time during lockdown may be confronting. Aside from boredom, the extra time may allow negative thoughts and worries to run wild. While it’s healthy to spend some time on self-reflection and rest as part of self-care, many of us still require some degree of structure to succeed at ‘being, not doing’.

Mindfulness practice is an accessible practice you can do anywhere, any time to recalibrate. It may sound ‘fluffy’, but a wealth of evidence shows that this technique assists with emotion regulation and stress management and can even mitigate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Why not try it this weekend? Here’s a primer.

SITTING MINDFULNESS

Find a peaceful place inside or outside and sit with your eyes closed. Focus your attention on your breathing or on the sensations in your body. E.g. become aware of each part of your body starting at the top of your head and working down to your toes. Notice how the cool breeze feels as it lifts your hair, but don’t judge the sensation or let your mind run away with tangential ideas (e.g. ‘wonder what tomorrow’s weather is going to be’). If you notice your mind wandering, gently bring it back to your breath or sensation.

ACTIVE MINDFULNESS

If you don’t like the idea of sitting still, consider incorporating mindfulness into an activity. Consider mindful walking or even mindful dishwashing. As with sitting, choose to focus on either your breath or sensations (e.g. notice how your feet feel as they connect with the ground and lift).

Curious about the science or need support to implement practice? Try the free @smilingmind Smiling Mind app (Apple and Google Play) developed by Australian psychologists and educators. #keepsoaring

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