The 3 Minute Breathing Space

The 3 Minute Breathing Space is a mini meditation for the purpose of stepping out of automatic pilot and reconnecting with the present moment experience. This practice can be very useful when negative thought patterns arise, attempting to push you into a downward spiral of emotional reactivity. By slowing down and turning into the present moment, with acceptance and compassion, this exercise can help you respond more skillfully to stressful situations. More choices become available with purposeful attention and we can start to respond to negative emotions instead of simply reacting to them.

  1. Awareness

    Bring yourself into the present moment by deliberately adopting an erect and dignified posture. If possible, close your eyes.

Then ask:”What is my experience right now…in thoughts…in feelings…and in bodily sensations? Acknowledge and register your experience, even if it is unwanted.

  1. Gathering

    Then, gently redirect full attention to breathing, to each in-breath and to each outbreath as they follow, one after the other.Your breath can function as an anchor to bring you into the present and help you tune into a state of awareness and stillness.

  2. Expanding

    Expand the field of your awareness around your breathing, so that it includes a sense of the body as a whole, your posture, and facial expression.The breathing space provides a way to step out of automatic pilot mode and reconnect with the present moment.

The key skill in using Mindfulness is to maintain awareness in the moment. Nothing else.

From Segal, Williams and Teasdale (2002). Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression. Guilford Press

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