Taking a mindful pause in your day
A Guest Meditation
The Full Stop Meditation
Guest meditation by Dr. Craig Hassed
*click play to listen to the meditation
Dr. Craig Hassed (MBBS, FRACGP) is a General Practitioner and senior lecturer at the Monash University Department of General Practice. His teaching, research and clinical interests involve mindfulness-based stress management, mind-body medicine, meditation, holistic healthcare, health promotion, complementary therapies and medical ethics. Craig has written and run courses on mindfulness-based therapies through Monash University, the RACGPs and other professionals groups since 1991. Monash is also the first university to introduce mindfulness training into the core medical undergraduate curriculum. He is regularly invited to speak in Australia and overseas on these issues, and has authored multiple books related to mindfulness and mind-body medicine.
The Mindful Stop
Mindfulness is not just about putting a fullstop in your day through meditation. There are many ways we can integrate mindfulness, the art of remembering to pause and be present to the moment, through the day.
Today try this practice.
The Mindful STOP is a practice that helps you remember to pause, get out of automatic pilot and physically catch your breath throughout the day.
It’s a quick and simple way to remember to connect with yourself, which creates greater potential for presence and wisdom in daily life.
Steps to practising the mindful STOP
S – Stop.
T – Take three mindful breaths, feeling the sensation of the breath flowing.
O – Observe the body, notice any tension and actively let it go.
P – Proceed with your day.
Set an alarm on your phone to ring at four random times today with the word STOP. You could also write the word STOP on some sticky notes and leave them in places you regularly see, such as the shower, the toilet, on your laptop, or in your car.
When you see these reminders, pause for a few moments to practise the STOP exercise. As you continue to practice the guided meditations each day and the STOP practice this week, remember that …
… the purpose of mindfulness is not to create a particular state of mind, but rather to be aware of whatever state is present.
Just like getting physically fit, you need to commit to the practice to experience the results of a mind that is functioning at its best.
Share what you notice after practising a few STOP's throughout the day in the Facebook group and/or on instagram.
The Monkey Mind
Take a moment to consider your own mind. It’s said that we have about 50-70,000 thoughts a day. You’ve probably noticed the constant stream of thoughts that move through your mind and the fact that a lot of the time, your mind is actually not focused on what you’re doing.
Maybe you can relate to sitting down to work, and catching yourself jumping between tasks and feeling like you’re not really doing anything properly? Or perhaps you’ve noticed how easily you can get hijacked by your Facebook stream and waste hours numbing out, when you could have spent that time doing something far more productive.
Many of us are finding it so difficult to switch off at night and go to sleep, with our minds racing through all the things we need to do the next day.
When you think about it, you have far less control over your mind than you think. In many ways your mind, has a mind of its own.
In fact the mind has often been referred to as the “monkey mind”, and just like a monkey jumping from branch to branch, the untrained mind jumps from thought to thought, very rarely able to stay in one place.
The idea of mindfulness meditation is to train our minds so that we can choose where we want to focus our attention and keep it there.
Research by Herbert Benson, Harvard cardiologist, has shown that resting our attention on the breath regularly, elicits the ‘Relaxation Response’. This is a biological state that counters the impact of the ‘fight-or-flight’ response reducing the impact of stress.
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