Katherine McWhaw offers mindfulness exercise

  1. Set a timer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Bring to mind a current challenge in your life that is the cause of some stress. A situation that you’re willing to work with at the moment. Not your biggest challenge but not so small that it causes no stress at all. A 3 on a scale of 1–10 is a good guide.
  3. Bring the situation vividly to mind. Imagine being in the situation and all the difficulties associated with it.
  4. Notice whether you can feel the stress in your body. Physical tension, faster heart rate, a little bit of sweating, butterflies in your stomach, tightness in the back or shoulders or jaw, perhaps. Look out for your stress signals.
  5. Tune in to your emotions. Notice how you feel. Label that emotion if you can, and be aware of where you feel the emotion, exactly, in your body. Just try to spot it as best you can. The more precisely you can locate the emotion and the more you notice about the sensation, the better. With time and experience, you’ll keep getting better at it.
  6. Try placing your hand on the location of the sensation—a friendly hand representing kindness. Do it the way you would place your hand on the injured knee of a child, with care and affection.
  7. Feel the sensation together with your breathing. This can promote a present-moment awareness and mindful attitudes to your experience.
  8. If your mind wanders, just come back to your breathing.
  9. When your timer rings, open your eyes and take a full deep breath before going about your daily activities.


Last Modified: March 17, 2020