There are many ways to engage in mindfulness: going on walks, exercise, or even cleaning around the house (any task that will distract you from the cycle of your thoughts!)
One way of engaging in mindfulness is through meditation.
Below are some tips that can assist with your meditation practice:
Physical Components of Meditation
Body versus Ground: Create a stable and balanced foundation and connection with the ground. If you are sitting on a chair, have both feet on the ground.
Back: Straight, relaxed back. If you are sitting on a chair, try not to lean back.
Upper Body: Relax your shoulders, arms & neck.
Hands: Rest your hands comfortably, either on your knees or in your lap.
Eyes: Keep your eyes closed if you have many thoughts, or slightly open with a soft gaze looking down (to prevent falling asleep during your practice!)
The ABCD of Mindfulness Practice
ANATOMY: Find a suitable body posture as described: stable foundation with feet on the ground, straight back, relaxed neck and shoulders, hands resting on knees or in the lap, and eyes closed or softly gazing downwards.
BREATH: We use the breath as a convenient anchor, an object for our attention. Place your attention on the breath by observing the sensation of the belly rising and falling. This is our main practice. Do not engage actively with the breath by trying to make it deeper, shallower, faster or slower. Simply observe it neutrally, like observing waves on a beach or clouds in the sky.
COUNTING: As a support for observing your breath, it may help to count. Starting at one, count each outbreath up to ten. Then start again at one. If you lose track of the count, start again at one. If you no longer need to count to stay with the breath, then simply observe the breath.
DISTRACTION: After a while, you will notice that you are not observing the breath any more, but are engaged in distractions of some kind: thoughts, emotions, sounds, smells, bodily sensations, etc. This is natural. Without suppressing or pushing away the distraction, simply return your attention to the rise and fall of the breath in your belly and start counting again.
This information was shared with us by Dr. Alex Trisoglio’s Mindful Leadership Presentation at our First Annual UBC OBGYN Leadership Training Program in September 2018.
Primary source: Hougaard, R. & Carter, J. (2016) One Second Ahead