Take 10 to settle and calm your mind

This post includes a 10-minute video in which trainer Karen Barr gently guides us though a short exercise to help calm our minds and reduce the chatter in our heads.

 

We are constantly reminded that we need to look after our bodies.

It might be a fitness tracker buzzing in our pocket to remind us to get up and take some steps, a message on our cereal packet that it is high in fibre, or a television advert reminding us about the importance of our five-a-day.

But who is reminding us to look after our brains and keep our minds healthy?

 

In this short video, trainer Karen Barr explains how mindfulness can help to do just that.

The first step in mindfulness is to settle our mind and in a 10-minute exercise Karen guides us through a brief mindfulness meditation that calms the chatter in our heads.

We hope you will enjoy Karen’s approach which is honest about it taking practice and patience, encouraging about the mind’s natural tendency to wander, understanding that we will find it hard initially, engaging in her guidance commentary, but in no way judgemental.

Why not give it a go?

 

Please find the transcript for this mindfulness video further down this blog post.

Some other mindful tips

 

Mindfulness training

You can find details about all our mindfulness courses here.

The 90-min Introduction to Mindfulness and the 3 Short Business Mindfulness courses are all suitable for virtual live online delivery.

 

Feedback from our mindfulness training

The training course content was very good, very interactive and a great introduction to Mindfulness.” Ayrshire College

"Karen adapted the course to suit our small group, I loved every minute of it - just too short."

 

 

Please get in touch if you would to discuss any of our courses.

You can call us on 01383 324122, complete our contact form or email us at training@in-equilibrium.co.uk.

 

Mindfulness Video Transcription

Welcome to this brief introduction to mindfulness.

Mindfulness is about being in the present moment without judgement.

What does that actually mean?

Through mindfulness training, we can learn to manage our emotions and our thoughts so that when difficult thoughts and emotions arise, we can skillfully manage our way through them rather than being overwhelmed by them.

Mindfulness is, in fact, brain training, so just as we are taught to look after our bodies, to exercise, get out walking to the gym, do
sports and eat healthily.

We are told all the time to look after our bodies, we understand that, but nobody is teaching us to look after our brains and keep
our minds healthy, and that's what mindfulness does.

We do mindfulness training through meditation, so meditation builds the muscle of mindfulness, but meditation is a means to an end. Meditation helps to build muscle so that we can be mindful in our everyday lives and be skilful in our thoughts and emotions while they are happening.

We are going to do a brief mindful settling the mind meditation.

Settling the mind is the first step in mindfulness.

We so often hear people saying, "oh, I've tried mindfulness, but my mind was too busy!"

It takes practise, and it takes patience, and it takes a bit of kindness to ourselves in order to teach ourselves mindfulness.

But over time, we begin to see that we become more skilful in our everyday lives.

One of the key things about mindfulness is that the mind does wander.

Very often, I hear people saying "I can't blank my mind".

Well, you are not trying to blank your mind; it's almost impossible to blank your mind.

Especially if you have had years and years or decades and decades of a busy chattering mind, what we call the monkey mind.

So we begin with a very simple settling the mind practice, which we are going to do now.

So the first thing about mindfulness is getting the posture right.

Sitting in a chair is absolutely fine, but we do have our feet flat on the whole and your hands either in your lap or on your thighs,
whichever is right for you.

You can have your eyes open or closed. I do tend to keep my eyes open because we are learning to be more open and awake in our experience.

Sometimes if your eyes are closed, we can just go inside, and the mind wanders.

If the mind does wander, that is absolutely fine. Through practice and learning, our mind might stay a little bit still, but it does
take a little bit of practice.

So finding that comfortable position, feet flat on the floor, hands in lap.

Eyes open or closed, if they are open then soft focusing down the nose.

It can be helpful to take a couple of fuller breaths.

You may find that your shoulders naturally drop just a little.

Imagining that there is a golden thread from the base of your spine to the top of your head.

But there is no need to sit ramrod straight, and it's perfectly fine to move anytime you need to.

As we turn our focus to the breath.

Noticing perhaps where the breath comes in and out the body. So we may notice it around the nostrils and the upper lip.

The cool air coming in and the warm air coming out. Perhaps at the back of the throat.

Or perhaps we might notice how the chest rises and falls, or the ribs expand and contract.

It doesn't matter where we notice it, just taking a few moments to notice how the breath moves the body.

And if the mind has wandered that's what it loves to do, and as soon as we notice, we guide it back to the breath. You cannot get
this wrong.

Guiding it back to the breath, as soon as we notice the mind has scurried off.

And it might be helpful for you to introduce counting so we breathe in, to the count of 3 or 4, and we breathe out to the count of
3 or 4.

Or you may prefer to use the phrases I am breathing in, I am breathing out. I am breathing in; I am breathing out.

So our breath forms a natural breathing rhythm.

And it's likely your mind scurried off again like a naughty puppy when we have taken our attention from it.

As soon as it happens, we guide it back through our breath, through counting or by using our phrases.

Allowing the mind to settle just as best we can.

And if we notice ourselves becoming sleepy, it can be easier to focus on the more energising in-breath.

And if we notice any signs of agitation, it can be helpful to focus on the more soothing out-breath.

And when we notice our mind has wandered, guiding it back with grace and kindness, it's what the mind loves to do.

Knowing that through practice and patience we can learn to let our thoughts float by.

And we'll learn to settle the mind even if we just notice this one breath.

Building the muscle of mindfulness by focusing on the breath and counting or using the phrases if that's helpful for you.

And as we come to the end of this practice it can be helpful to take a couple of fuller breaths.

(Bell rings)

So if you would like to learn more about our mindfulness courses or any other wellbeing courses, or sign up to the In Equilibrium quarterly newsletter here.

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