Mindful Practice Worksheet June: Awareness

Awareness QuoteBringing awareness to our life

Having an awareness of ourselves is one of the most important aspects of mindfulness. To be aware that our thoughts are running away, of what we are feeling and to explore that through awareness allows us to get to the core of ourselves. We can also hold ourselves in awareness to be practice mindfulness; being aware of our breath as we meditate, and the awareness of the feelings we have in our body if we’re doing mindful movement, or experiencing the meditation.

Group discussion

How do you use awareness in your mindful practice?

Is there a difference between mindfulness and awareness?

What benefits does awareness bring?














Mindful Practice Worksheet – May: Mindfulness in Daily Life


Incorporating mindfulness in daily life

Although it’s great to be able to use all the tools mindfulness brings such as meditation and present moment awareness, one thing that will make a massive difference in your mindful practice is if you can bring mindfulness into daily life. Whether taking a shower, a walk, brushing your teeth, cooking, working, stood in a queue, if you can bring yourself back to the present, away from your thoughts, feel the moment, the sensations it brings, feel your breath, and be totally focussed and present in that moment, you’ve cracked it. Using mindfulness in daily life will top up the bigger practices, and allow you to live a more peaceful and calmer life

Group exercise

  1. Whilst we are sitting here, notice what you’re doing…are you thinking about what to make for tea, how boring or interesting the group is? Are you worrying about a conversation you had with someone a few hours ago, or how you’re going to resolve a problem?
  2. Feel the weight of yourself sinking into the seat
  3. Feel your feet on the floor
  4. Notice what you can see and hear
  5. Notice your breathing
  6. Choose to fully participate in the group discussion – if thoughts come, bring yourself back to your physical presence – sitting in the seat with your feet on the floor and back to your breath

Group discussion

How easy is it for you to bring mindfulness into daily life?

How do you do this?

When is it hardest to be mindful in daily life? What can you do then?


Relaxation meditation










Mindful Practice Group Worksheet April 2017 – Meditation

Meditation quote


Meditation is at the core of mindfulness. The ability to pause, take time out, sit, reflect, let thoughts go is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. If only it was that easy. People can struggle with meditation; from making time, to regulating the breath, to allowing thoughts to come and go.

Meditation is simply sitting and clearing the mind, allowing any thoughts that come in the mind to drift out again. Here’s some guidelines on how to achieve it simply;

  1. Find a quiet space, and sit or lie down
  2. Start to take some deep breaths in and out, and focus on these breaths.
  3. If any thoughts start coming into your mind, accept these as just thoughts, and let them drift through your mind. Try not to start to look at these thoughts or judge them as good or bad.
  4. If you get distracted by a sound, acknowledge that sound and let it bring you back to focussing on your breath.

There are lots of different ways to meditate; to guided mediations, sounds, in silence, music. There are no limits.

Group discussion

What is it that you like about meditating?

What do you find difficult about meditating?

How do you make time for meditation?

What benefits do you feel you get from meditation?


Meditating to the sound of waves


To music










Mindful Practice Group Worksheet- March 2017 Loving Kindness for All

Mindful Practice Group Worksheet – March 2017

Loving Kindness for all


Loving kindness or compassion is a big part of mindfulness. When we give compassion to ourselves or others, it releases a positive energy that helps bring happiness into our lives. Loving kindness can feel easy to those we love and care about but what about those people we find harder to love? Our enemies? People we feel we have no respect for. If we can find loving kindness for people we struggle to give it to, this will help us feel calmer, more at peace and definitely more mindful! If you read the page below in the link for science based reasons, being kind is also good for your physical health. Over a nine week period, research showed that this type of meditation increased people’s experiences of positive emotions.

The research shows compellingly that it actually puts people on “trajectories of growth,” leaving them better able to ward off depression.  This is probably because it increases a wide range of those resources that make for a meaningful and successful life, like having an increased sense of purpose, stronger social support, and less illness. Research even shows that loving-kindness meditation “changes the way people approach life” for the better.

Group discussion

Loving kindness exercise from The Mindfulness Association Mindfulness Training

  1. The practice involves repeating three or four phrases or wishes for a person or animal towards whom we feel genuine kindness. Imagine the person or animal sitting before you as you say them. Some examples of traditional phrases include: May you be well; May you be happy; May you be free from suffering; May you be free from danger (including dangerous mind states); and May you live with ease (may life go easily). Pick three or four of the above phrases which are meaningful to you. If these phrases are not meaningful to you, then make up your own set of phrases.
  2. Choose a person or animal for whom you feel genuine concern as you say these phrases. You might not feel this towards them all of the time, and this is OK. In doing this practice we are connecting with feelings of kindness we have already, however intermittent or conditional. We are not trying to force anything or to squeeze out any particular feeling from our hearts. If things feel dry or distant, that is fine. That is our experience. We might find that, through this practice, our hearts open allowing sensations of warmth and connection to arise and grow. If this is the case then from time to time during the practice, move your awareness into your body to sense how kindness feels in your body.
  3. We might find that, through this practice, blocks to kindness, such as fear, anxiety or anger arise. This is OK too and provides us with an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and our habitual patterns of thought and behavior. If such blocks arise, then from time to time during the practice, move your awareness into your body to sense how the block feels in your body. Work with the attitude, that whatever arises is OK and just allow thoughts, emotions and physical sensation to come and go in their own good time.


Loving Kindness Meditation to Develop Mindfulness and Compassion


Metta Loving Kindness Meditation










Mindful Practice Group Worksheet – February 2017 – Living in the Present

Mindful Practice Group Worksheet – February 2017

Living in the Present


About Living in the Present

Living in the present in one of the most fundamental practices of mindfulness. So many of us ruminate about the past or worry about the future. Mindfulness teaches us to live in the present, wake up ,smell the coffee, feel the breeze and let it be. It sounds great, and as easy as A,B, C but in reality if you’ve been living in the past or present for a long time, it can take a real shift.

There are lots of reasons why people live in the past or the present; to cope with difficult childhoods or relationships, to avoid acceptance of what is happening to them, stress, depression, many other reasons. To get started with living in the present, all you need to do is to start noticing things around you. Be truly present for a conversation with a partner or  a friend. Put your phone done and listen. Being present is easier to practice in nature as there is lots to concentrate on. For example you can feel the breeze on your face, watch the birds and listen to their song, feel the springy grass under your feet. The more you practice, the more it becomes a habit.

Group discussion

What does living in the present mean to you?

Can you see areas of your life where you used to live in the past/future where you now live in the present? How have you changed these?

What are the biggest challenges for you in living in the present? What are your biggest successes?

Exercise to try at home

(From https://www.enthusiasticbuddhist.com/10-mindfulness-exercises-help-live-mindful-life/)

Notice 5 in 3 – See, Hear, Feel

  1. Every now and then, challenge yourself to find five things that are part of your present experience. First notice five things that you can see with your eyes. They don’t necessarily have to be interesting; it might just be just a table, the carpet, the TV, a cup, and a plate in front of you. The aim is simply to bring your full awareness to your experience now in the present moment.
  2. Then notice five things you can hear. Keep listening until you’ve distinguished five different sounds.
  3. Then notice five things you can feel with your body. These might be the pressure of the couch, the material of your clothes, a slight breeze, tension in your neck, or air breathing into your nostrils.
  4. Then just rest your mind in this present moment awareness which you’ve just cultivated, and remain in that awareness for as long as you want. Then mindfully go back to your tasks.


Blissful Present Moment awareness – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65XPqRhmN20

Guided Mindfulness medittion on the present













Mindful Practice Group Worksheet – 16.1.17 New Beginnings – Beginners Mind



beginners-mindAbout Beginners Mind

Beginner’s mind is an aspect of mindfulness which is about letting go of preconceptions and judgments and seeing things through ‘new eyes’.  Beginners Mind is an old zen idea from an old Zen term made popular by Shunryu Suzuki who was a Zen Buddhist monk. When we see something through new eyes, we often see it with awe and wonder. For example when you first move to a new location, and you see awe and beauty in everything and then after a while you don’t notice it any more.

Beginners Mind is using being in the present moment and being mindful to experience that ‘just arrived’ feeling as much as possible. When we use beginners mind we are letting go of any pre conceived ideas and concepts we have about something. For example that we don’t like crowded places. Our mind tells us we don’t like crowded places, and so we get stressed in a crowded place, but if we go to a crowded place and sense it as it really is, it will just be a place with lots of people in. There will be no judgement or attachment to it, and we will be able to dwell there.

The benefit of beginner’s mind to us is that we can see things anew, without the judgements or labels we may have given them in the past. This opens us up to new possibilities, avoids catastrophising and reduces anxiety and stress.

Group discussion

What areas of your life could you use beginners mind in?

Do you think beginners mind is something you use in everyday life, or you could used more of?

What scenarios would be good to use beginners mind in?

Exercise to try at home

  1. Sit or lie down in a relaxed and comfortable position and close your eyes.
  2. Notice the sensation of your breathing and the feel of your body against the surface you’re sitting or lying on.

Prepare to see things as if for the first time when you open your eyes. Prepare to be amazed at the experience of colour entering your eyes.

  1. When you’re ready, gently open your eyes.

Notice colours with a sense of wonder. Notice the range of different colours, the shades and hues, the shadows or bright light.

  1. Continue to operate this way as you go about your daily activities and see what happens.



There are barely any meditations which focus specifically on beginner’s mind. Here’s one which focuses on the breath which will help anchor you in the present










Links and information from group 5th September

We didn’t run to a worksheet this week. Instead we looked at lots of different aspects of mindfulness across different themes. All of the links to what we looked at are below:

100 reasons to be grateful got us thinking about all the different things that make us grateful. From the feel of grass between your feet to family, we pulled numbers from the list and appreciated the world.

We watched a short film of one of the fathers of modern mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn give 9 meditation tips which we all need. You can see the video here

We read through an  article on Mindful.org about The need to please which lots of us identified with.

Finally we did a body scan meditation by Mark Williams which covered some mindful movement. Suggested by one of the group it was a great end to the impromptu session. You can try it here


Mindful Practice Group – 18.7.16 and 1.8.16 Habit Breaking


habit quote 2

“It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them” – Benjamin Franklin

“Habits change  into character”  – Ovid

Exercise – From Zen Habits

  1. Commit for a Month. Thirty days is all you need to make a habit change permanent. Less time than that and the new alternative might not be hardwired into your brain. More time and any failures to last are usually a failure of strategy, not duration.
  1. Replace What You Lose. Your habits fulfill needs. When you suddenly cause a change, you may inadvertently cut them out. Before you make a change, write down all the benefits you currently get from your bad habit and make sure they are retained going into the new habit.
  1. Start Small. Changing habits isn’t a matter of willpower, but patience and strategy. Don’t expect to overhaul your diet, exercise or thinking patterns in a day. Tackle one habit at a time.
  1. Know the Benefits. Get clear in your mind what the benefits are of making a change. If making a change rationally seems good but it doesn’t feel good, it won’t stick. Emotions have more power than many of us realize.
  1. Write it Down. Winston Churchill once said, ““Plans are useless, planning is invaluable.”” Writing out any commitments you make will give you clarity both to what you desire and how you intend to do it.
  1. Swish. A technique from NLP. Visualize yourself performing the bad habit. Next visualize yourself pushing aside the bad habit and performing an alternative. Finally, end that sequence with an image of yourself in a highly positive state. See yourself picking up the cigarette, see yourself putting it down and snapping your fingers, finally visualize yourself running and breathing free. Do it a few times until you automatically go through the pattern before executing the old habit.
  1. Tell a Friend. Get some leverage on yourself. Tell a friend your plan so you will be more likely to commit to the change.
  1. Make it an Experiment. Be a scientist. Just try the new habit to see what it will be like, rather than a great emotional struggle. This will help keep you focused on conditioning the trial and allow you to view results with less bias.
  1. If at First You Don’t Succeed…Most big changes aren’t going to happen the first time. It took me three attempts before I finally stuck on with exercising regularly. Now I love it. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail the first time; just tweak your approach and go again.
  1. Get Out of Hazard Zones. Get yourself out of situations that can trigger your old habit. Remove junk food from your house. Don’t go to places where you might break your budget. This isn’t always possible, but do your best to avoid temptation.
  1. Use “But”. A prominent habit-changing therapist once told me this great technique for changing bad thought patterns. When you start to think negative thoughts, use the word “”but”” to interrupt it. “”I’m no good at this, but, if I work at it I might get better later.””
  1. Know the Pain. Feel what will happen to you if you don’t make a change. Use your imagination to enhance the image of your results should you do nothing.
  1. Add Role Models. Start spending more time with people who live the way you want to live. Join groups and find mentors who have already adapted the habits you want to take on. They can be invaluable in giving you the positive reinforcement and guidance you need.
  1. Stay Consistent. Try to keep as many aspects of your habit in control when conditioning to make the associations stronger. For the first month don’t just exercise a few times a week, but every day. Do things at the same time and in the same pattern to ensure your results stick.
  1. Keep it Simple Stupid!. Habits should be one or two rules, not 20. If your plan looks like a User License Agreement from Microsoft, it’s probably too long. Keep changes simple so they will be easier to adhere to.
  1. Remind Yourself. Put reminders of your habit around you. After spending a few years changing many habits, I’ve learned that one of the biggest ways I’ve failed is simply a poor memory. Forgetting to run a trial one day leads to two until your back where you started. Put up Post-It notes, affirmations or whatever you need to stay consistent.
  1. Motivate Yourself. Get the motivation when things get tough.
  1. Break Down Your Goals. Use habits to get your goals. Break down your goal to be wealthy into habits of investing, frugality and entrepreneurship.
  1. Don’t Strive for Perfection. Focus on the habits that are important and minimize those that aren’t. I’ve changed many major habits, but I’ve also learned to let minor problems exist if they distract me from the bigger picture.
  1. Do it Now. Waiting for life? The best way to learn how to change those stubborn habits in your life is to practice. Make a change now and in a month you can have a completely new way of living.









habit quote

Mindful Practice Group – 04/7/2016 – Catastrophizing


catastrophizing 4.7.16 part 2

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”
Benjamin Franklin


For the group – have you got any examples when you’ve catastrophized?

Page BreakExercise

  1. Recognise the feelings that you are having, that these are a symptom of your catastrophisation.
  1. Practice – create a strong vision to associate with these feelings. This could be a loud siren going off in your head; a large neon STOP sign flashing noisily before you.
  1. STOP
  1. Askyourself what you are thinking, challenge that thinking. For example, if your partner is half an hour late from home and hasn’t called you, is it likely they got held up in traffic, a more realistic scenario than they might have been in an accident/be having an affair/be deliberately disrespecting you by being late?
  1. Reward – Think of a progressive, positive, encouraging statement that you can say to yourself in that same situation in the future – for example, “I am recognising when my thinking is not helpful, I am now able to challenge that thinking.”




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TS7BOC8mKY4 – lovely sounds of summer (as we aren’t having much of one!)

To try

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPWpV064K24 (For clearing negativity)






Mindful Practice Group Worksheet 20/6/2016 – Happiness

Happiness picture and quote.jpg


Positive emotions contribute to important downstream life outcomes, including friendship development, marital satisfaction, higher incomes and better physical health. People who experience frequent positive emotions have even been shown to live longer. Indeed, a recent meta-analysis of nearly 300 findings concluded that positive emotions produce success and health as much as they reflect these good outcomes

“A strong correlation exists between the well-being, happiness, health, and longevity of people who are emotionally and behaviorally compassionate”.

-A study on “Altruism, happiness, and health: it’s good to be good”


“It is the mind that translates good and bad circumstances into happiness or misery. So happiness comes with the purging of mental toxins, such as hatred, compulsive desire, arrogance and jealousy, which literally poison the mind. It also requires that one cease to distort reality and that one cultivate wisdom.” Matthieu Ricard



Try spending 5 minutes every morning saying or writing down everything you are grateful for. Or try thanking God for everything you have. Just fostering gratitude opens up places of joy for all that you have walked through and all the blessings that you have.

This practice also helps bring attention to the things you are thankful for in your life that are going well. It’s easy to focus on the negatives sometimes; even research supports that “like any emotional state, feelings of joy, gratitude, interest, and contentment typically last only a matter of minutes…moreover, positive emotions are less intense and less attention-grabbing than negative emotions and are more quickly to diffuse”.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WesTeGGwLGg – Stanton Lanier Peace

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJO4fpYMq4k – Stanton Lanier Breathe