Mindfulness as a resource

Wednesday 01 April 2020


This is the second blog from Mary Turner Cancer support specialist and mindfulness teacher.

It is such a challenging time, and one where we can so easily get repeatedly overwhelmed in a vortex of anxiety and fear.

It will be time well spent to consider how best to support yourself and others close to you.  How to stay grounded and keep coming back to the here and now, and regain some steadiness? What might resource you to best acknowledge and maybe adapt to all that is changing and uncertain in your life right now?

Last week I joined Chris Cullen’s virtual mindfulness session from the Oxford Mindfulness Centre. It was really beneficial connecting with so many people virtually, and with Chris skilfully holding the space and the interconnection between all those who attended.

He suggested that one of the best ways to cultivate resilience in the midst of the huge challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic is to give attention to what resources us.
The three interrelated areas he suggested to focus on were:

1. Grounding and Breathing – Engaging in a mindfulness meditation practice, where the intentional focus is connecting with the body which can steady and support us.

2. Pause and Remember What You Appreciate – This can be the small stuff. The image above is of a flower in my garden that made me Stop, Pause and Appreciate.
Mindfulness is most simply translated as present moment awareness. So, it is about waking up to what is right in front of you. To what you see, what you hear, smell and  taste. As you look closely and invite an attitude of curiosity to be present, what do you notice, is there a sense of gratitude and appreciation, to what is here already? Often in our frantic lives we tend to miss the extraordinary in the ordinary.

3. Identify What Resources You – Commit to it being a part of your life, every day. Maybe it is playing a musical instrument, listening to music, sitting in the garden, gardening, connecting with family, talking with friends on the phone, meditating, yoga or a form of exercise.

During the session Chris invited all to settle, ground and move into awareness of the body. After a while and with a sense steadiness in the body, he invited us to ask ourselves some reflective questions.

I will share them with you, but firstly, maybe give this mindfulness exercise a go, see what you notice?

Connecting to the here and now through connecting with the body

As you sit here, I invite you to intentionally bring awareness into the body sitting here right now. Maybe firstly engage with the obvious contact points of the body against the chair, maybe uncrossing your legs and feeling into the contact of your feet on the floor. What do you notice?

Maybe feeling of touch, contact, pressure. Inviting you in this moment to really engage with the feeling sense of the body sitting here. Becoming aware now of the contact of your hands, where they naturally lie. 

What sensations do you notice in the hands and fingers? maybe closing your eyes and really moving up close to the feeling sense of the body sitting here now.

And as you engage with the practice of grounding awareness in the body, the mind will wander,

Please know that is not a problem, it is what our human mind does a lot. When you notice the mind wandering just noting and acknowledging what is on the mind – maybe labelling what is on your mind- so saying internally... ah... worrying thoughts are here right now, that is understandable, then without judging your mind, or the thought, simply coming back.

Gathering and shifting attention back to awareness of the body with ease, knowing you do not need to follow the thoughts, just because they call, you can interrupt the flow and choose to redirect attention and come back to the body, not by forcing but with a kindly and patient attitude. 

The mind will time travel into the future, when this happens there is often a disconnect from the present moment experience. So, you can come back by inhabiting this present moment by engaging with the body that is here, now. 

You can choose to shift attention back to the feeling sense of the body repeatedly. This will transport you back to the present, to gain some steadiness and to anchor.

Alternatively, you might like to follow the guidance of another mindfulness meditation called:

Feet on the Floor Practice: 

With the mind grounded in the body, your feet firmly planted on the ground. You have something of strength, stability and dignity of a mountain that can endure all extremes of weather unmoved.

Teasdale, Williams and Segal. (2014) p. 125 The Mindful Way Workbook

Following the mindful meditation practice, remain sitting for a little while longer, create some space and internally ask yourself these questions. You might like to write your answers down:

  1. What resources me?
    Pausing to remember and appreciate what resources me. How does it feel in my body and mind right now, as I remember things that resource me?
  2. Can I identify two thing that could resource me every day this week?
  3. Can I commit to incorporate this into my day, and how will I remember?

Additional ways to keep engaged with a mindfulness practice

Oxford Mindfulness Centre:

The OMC is continuing to offer weekly online mindfulness sessions which are free and you do not need prior mindfulness experience or practice to take part. You can find out more form their website 


Jon Kabit- Zinn

How about join Jon Kabit Zinn streaming from the USA. He is the innovator of mindfulness based approaches, founder of the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine in Massachusetts and
author of Wherever You Go There You Are, he is now offering a meditation practice:  You can find out more about the sessions offered on his website : www.wisdom2conference.com/live 

Tara Brach

Tara is a world-renowned mindfulness meditation teacher and psychologist and has so many wonderful resources to offer support, aid steadiness and build resilience. Please check out her

website: https://www.tarabrach.com/ For the next few days, she is offering free access to one of her courses: Mindfulness for Anxiety
and Sleep: Learn Practices that Help Reduce Stress and Calm Fears 

Go Well
With Warmth

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