Bestselling author, psychotherapist and mindfulness teacher, Dr Patrizia Collard teaches that incorporating just a few very simple mindfulness practices into your day can help prevent and overcome anxiety, stress and depression.
In her latest book, The Little Book of Meditation Patrizia guides your through meditations and exercises to help clear your head. Here’s a ten minute meditation you can try today to kick off your weekend in a positive and relaxing way:
Thoughts are not necessarily true
I invite you to go to your place of meditation, sit down and make yourself comfortable. Have a shawl or a blanket to hand if it is cool today, or as a prop to remind you why you are here.
Focus on the parts of your body that are in contact with the armchair or the floor: your back, your buttocks, and also your hands, which can either be folded in your lap, or resting on your thighs.
Try to relax your facial muscles and shoulders. Close your eyes, if that feels good to you, or leave them half-open without focusing on anything. Become very aware of your breathing. You will notice that each breath is a unit in itself, longer or shorter, deeper or shallower. You will notice over time that after every inhale and exhale there is a brief pause before the “next round” begins. Follow your breathing until you feel a sense of calm.
Now turn your attention to your body. Do you feel any strong sensations
anywhere? If you notice areas of tension or pain, you can try to breathe into these areas and, on each exhalation, let go of any tension
as best you can.
Now take a conscious look at your thoughts, especially any that trigger unpleasant feelings and bodily sensations. It is important to remember that your aim here is to recognize the thought patterns that oppress you and can sometimes drag you down into a black hole. If you manage to identify a pattern, you can make a note of it in your diary once you have finished meditating. What you are not aiming to do here is somehow magically change those thoughts. Your attitude is one of keen interest, while at the same time keeping a certain distance to ensure that you are not swept along by what might be a raging torrent.
There is a technique that meditation practitioners use to allow them to see their thoughts but not let them take control: they give them a name, which makes it possible to preserve the necessary distance. Thoughts can be negative, neutral or positive, of course. But whichever category they fall into, in this meditation you will only look at them briefly and give them a name.
More guided meditations in Dr Patrizia Collard’s The Little Book of Meditation