Mind full or mindful? An exercise in presence

Mind full or mindful

When someone mentions meditation or mindfulness, many people's first associations are drawn to an image of someone sitting with their legs crossed, perhaps on a wooden deck somewhere in Bali, trying to find themselves... Do you recognise yourself in this, in our opinion, fairly common misconception? 

Many of us are mind-full every day. The English translation could be mind-split. Do you know what it's like to be consumed by thoughts? Maybe you're reading this - while you're caught up in what was said in the morning meeting, planning what to make for dinner, or thinking about when it was that your daughter was going to be driven to soccer practice?

Whether they are thoughts or feelings, they have the ability to take our focus away from the moment or the task we are in right now. This can manifest itself in a stress response or fatigue. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Mindfulness to control your focus

In fact, you can learn to control your focus instead of letting your thoughts control you.

The exercise below takes just a few minutes and is the perfect break for those who are stressed or need to slow down and control their thoughts - a presence and focus exercise with a relaxing effect. We call it mindfulness - but you can call it whatever you like!

Start by going to a place where you can be by yourself for a little while, maybe in a meeting room at work between important tasks - or in your favourite armchair in the living room next to the table with your favourite magazines and that knitting you like to sit with but can't find the focus to finish? Then follow the steps below:

3 senses - A short exercise

  • Think about what thoughts and musts are taking up your focus and buzzing in your head right now. Write them down and put them aside.
  • Take three deep breaths - Try to focus only on how you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Now notice three things in your field of vision. What is their colour, shape, size and texture? Describe them to yourself, one at a time. Try not to judge.
  • Close your eyes and listen for 3 sounds. Can you find louder or quieter sounds? Further away or closer? What do you hear?
  • Note three things that you feel. Are you cold or hot in a certain part of your body? Do you feel pressure or tension somewhere? How do your shoulders feel against the backrest? Notice the feeling without judging it.
  • Finally, think and decide what to do right now. Try not to be ruled by stress or thoughts. What are you going to do right now? Do it.

Good luck! And remember, it gets easier every time you practice.