Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Mindfulness

What – Mindfulness is a useful practice to steady our minds and bodies in these difficult times. It is about paying attention, on purpose and with the intention of being curious and open to what you notice in the present moment.

Mindfulness shows that we can gain control of our attention by learning to focus on details of our experience (e.g. sounds, sights, bodily sensations). With practice, this can help stabilise our minds and bodies and be useful when there are worrying events - such as now.

How – There are two main ways to learn and practice mindfulness:

· Formal meditation – recordings of guided mindfulness meditations teach you by leading you through meditation practice, e.g. body scan, breathing meditation, walking meditation, standing and mindful movement or sitting meditations.

· Informal awareness practices – in which you simply pay attention to the sensory details of your life, e.g. washing your hands, sitting down, eating/ drinking. If you are struggling to sleep, you could pay mindful attention to safety (e.g. feel physically supported by a bed, feel the comfort of your covers) to help your mind switch down.

MINDFULNESS RESOURCES

University of Leeds resources

· Staff and students can access the recordings from the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction courses run by the Staff Counselling and Psychological Support Services. NB: Please note you will need to use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge as your internet browser to open this link.

Try these quick practices to help you:

1) Do this 3-step breathing space regularly to check in with yourself and settle down.

2) Do this mindful self-care break when you feel you are struggling or stressed.

· Other guided secular meditation practice from the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at the University of Bangor (a UK leader in secular mindfulness. Listen to guided meditations from the two main evidence based programmes Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy. We particularly recommend the Workplace Mindfulness Audio Tracks which tend to be shorter than those used in the clinical programmes.

Mindfulness Apps

· The mindfulness App 1 and 2 - simple apps with short guided meditations and a time setting to do your own.

· Get Some Headspace - based on 10 minutes of meditation practice per day.

A word of caution about listening to guided meditations

As mindfulness trains us to pay more attention to our lived experience it can highlight our awareness of stress or difficult experiences. If this is too much for you at any point, please override the meditation and choose to focus on something that feels safe or neutral, e.g. sounds or something nice you can see.

Extra support

Please get in touch with the service at staffcounselling@leeds.ac.uk if you have any questions or would like individual guidance about practising mindfulness. See the Staff Counselling and Psychological Support webpages for more information about the team.