In the following exercise, we´ll practice being present in the moment and calming ourselves by directing our attention to the flow of sensory perceptions: sight, sound, and touch. You can do the exercise by listening to the recording (5 min and 17 sec) or by reading the text. The exercise is quick to memorize. We also recommend trying it without the recording, so you can go at your own pace, whether it’s for a minute or even a quarter of an hour.
You may notice immediate positive effects even after a single practice session. However, mindfulness exercises become easier and provide the most benefit when done regularly, for example, 1–5 times a week. Remember to maintain an open, curious, and gentle mindset. You can’t do the exercise wrong, and even one second of practice develops your skill of conscious accepting presence.
There are intentional silent moments in the recording.
Go to the sensory exercise
The exercise in a text format (click to open)
Find a comfortable position. Breathe at your own pace, calmly and steadily. Inhale and exhale through your nose. Place your hands on your midriff and feel it moving up and down. Keep your neck muscles relaxed. Sense your breathing movements, focus on them for a while.
If you notice some thoughts are grasping your attention during the exercise, acknowledge this and take your concentration back to what you were doing. Your mind was working just as it was supposed to. There’s nothing wrong with a wandering mind, and it is not a sign of failing the exercise. Quite the opposite: acknowledging this thought made the exercise a success!
Let the breathing then fade away from your mind, and start the sensory exercise.
First, concentrate on looking at three different objects around you, each one at a time: look at its colour, shape, type and shadow. Name the object, but avoid using descriptive or evaluative adjectives. Then move on to the next object. And then the third object. You can then close your eyes if you want.
Listen to the sounds around you. Try to find three different sounds and focus on them each one at a time. Name these sounds and just listen to them. Do you recognise which is the highest pitch and which the lowest? Which sound is close, which one is far?
Finally, focus on sensing your body, and try to identify three different sensations, again each one at a time. What are you feeling? Are your jaw muscles tense, is your heart pounding, are your feet cold, how do your clothes feel against your skin, do you feel pain or something good somewhere in your body? Name these sensations and just feel them. Again, just mention them without evaluating them. If any of the sensations feels uncomfortable, try bearing it without immediately doing something to reverse it. Focus on each sensation one at a time for a while.
Then take a few deep, calm breaths and try to remember the things around you. Open your eyes when you feel ready to do so.
Exercises and more information online (click to open)
Find exercises that suit you and learn more about the topic through these links or by reading Mindfulness-related books. Welcome to a Stressless group too!
Familiarize yourself with our StressLess coaching
If the exercise above seemed useful to you, we recommend that you also familiarize yourself with our StressLess coaching.