THE ‘3-MINUTE BREATHING SPACE’
"The '3-minute breathing space' is a highly portable mindfulness practice that I regularly teach. It provides a practical way to ‘hit the pause button’ on life, take stock of experience, ground oneself in the moment with a sense of non-judgmental self-kindness, and then to carry this openness and wider perspective forward as we then go on about our day. “It involves three basic steps:
“Pause your business and ‘doing’ mode and step into ‘being mode’ by closing your eyes (if it feels comfortable for you), and be with your experience. Check in with yourself and notice what physical sensations are present in your body. What emotions are there? What thoughts are going through your mind space?
“After taking stock, anchor yourself in the present moment by resting your attention on the movements of the breath as it enters and leaves your body. There is no need to control the breath in any way. Pay attention to the fullness of the in-breath, and the fullness of the outbreath, and the pauses in between – just gently riding the waves of your breath.
“Lastly, allow your attention to expand back outwards, by having awareness not only of the movements of your breath, but also your body and wider experience as a whole. Maintain this open, non-judgmental awareness as your carry this experience forward and go on about your day.
“Given we humans are creatures of habit, it helps to actually schedule this brief practice into our day. It might help to set a reminder on your phone. Aim to do this at least three times throughout the day. Don’t be too worried about the length of the practice; the key is to regularly pause, tune in with self-kindness, and reconnect to the present moment.”
Dr Melissa Day is a Clinical psychologist and research fellow at the University of Queensland.