[EXERCISE] Your First Exercise for Embracing Mindfulness at Work
Welcome to the Breathing Space AGE exercise.
The Breathing Space exercise is a mindfulness practice that helps you create a pause in the midst of everyday life, and become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. Here’s how to do the breathing space exercise using the acronym AGE: awareness, gather, and expand.
Start by finding a comfortable and quiet place to sit down and close your eyes, or if you prefer, you can also keep your eyes open and gaze at the ground. You may also want to sit up straight and place your feet firmly on the ground. Take a few deep breaths, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. As you breathe, let go of any tension in your body and allow yourself to fully relax.
Remember that this exercise is meant to be a gentle and supportive experience, so if at any point you feel uncomfortable or distracted, simply bring your attention back to your breath.
Let me guide you through the following three steps.
Step 1: Awareness
Step out of your automatic way of reacting in stressful situations and ask yourself: “Where am’I?” and “What is happening now?” The goal is to direct your attention to your thoughts and reflections. Feelings that may be present in your throat, stomach, chest or other body sensations without having to change them.
You just notice them as they are at that moment.
Also, maybe you can say something supportive to yourself, like “Let me feel this,” placing a hand on the chest or stomach.
Step 2: Gathering
This next step is to direct attention to only one focus (breathing). Our mind continuously tends to wander, to be “busy” and unfocused. When we focus on just one thing, it can help bring our mind to the present moment.
Notice what your breathing is like, what sensations there are in the body when you inhale and exhale.
Step 3: Expanding
The last step invites us to focus our attention on breathing and the body as a whole. This gives us a wider awareness of the present moment, especially as our attention is focused on our thoughts, with little awareness of how thoughts affect us emotionally and physically.
Try to focus your attention on the whole body, from the feet to the top of the head. And tell yourself, “Whatever I’m feeling right now is okay.”
Finally, take a few deep breaths, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes.
Take some time to reflect on how you’re feeling.
Remember to be kind and gentle to yourself, and if you find this exercise helpful, consider incorporating it into your daily routine.
Thanks for your attention.