Distractions are all around us. Loads of research has shown that our minds tend to wander for almost half of our waking hours. We can even be distracted by the slightest of things. It can be the sound of our phone’s notification, a sight we find interesting or even our own thoughts. It’s a natural thing to occur, especially in this era where everything is at the palm of our hands. Mindfulness training is a great way to reduce distractions and strengthen your attention.
This simple exercise involves focusing your attention on your breathing and tuning into its sensations. You may start to notice the temperature of the air moving in and out of your nostrils, for example. Notice the pace of your breathing, or how it feels in different parts of your body. Naturally, your mind will wander while you practice this – when it does, try to bring your awareness back to your breath. Remember to do it gently and without judging your thoughts.
This is similar to mindful breathing, but it’s noticing your sensations while walking instead of just breathing. This can include how your feet feel on the ground, how your body moves when you walk or the breeze on your skin. This exercise can be done indoors or outdoors, depending on what’s convenient. Some people find this easier than mindful breathing, so do try this if the first exercise didn’t feel right for you.
This exercise includes focusing on different parts of your body, one at a time, to notice its sensations. For example, you can focus all your attention on your shoulders and see if you notice any sensations like the wind on your skin or if there is any tension you’re holding in that area. It’s usually done by starting from the top of the head and going all the way to the toes in an orderly manner.
This exercise can be done sitting or laying down. Remember to not judge the sensations in your body, but simply observe them.
This exercise is about focusing your attention on a specific object(s), naming any sensations or emotions that come up as you observe, and then letting them go. You can do this exercise silently or out-loud, and for as long as you like. Again, avoid judging the sensations and emotions and rather observe. It’s okay to get stuck on one emotion and not be able to let it go while doing this exercise; practice makes perfect.