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Mindful : August 2016
3-MINUTE BREATHING SPACE PRACTICE PREPARATION Begin by deliberately adopt- ing an erect and dignified posture, whether you are sitting or standing. If possible, close your eyes. Then take about one minute to guide yourself through each of the following three steps: 1 BECOMING AWARE Bringing your awareness to your inner experience, ask: What is my experience right now? What THOUGHTS are going through your mind? As best you can, acknowledge thoughts as mental events, perhaps putting them into words. What FEELINGS are here? Turn toward any sense of emotional discomfort or unpleasant feelings, acknowl- edging their presence. What BODY SENSATIONS are here right now? Perhaps quickly scan your body to pick up any sensations of tight- ness or bracing. The three-minute breathing space is one of the core practices taught and repeated throughout Mindfulness- Based Cognitive Therapy. It’s intended to help bring formal mindfulness practice into moments of everyday life. It’s considered the most important practice in the program. 2 GATHERING Now, redirect your attention to focus on the physical sen- sations of the breath. Move in close to the sense of the breath in the abdomen... feeling the sensations of the abdominal wall expanding as the breath comes in...and falling back as the breath goes out. Follow the breath all the way in and all the way out, using the breathing to anchor yourself in the present. If the mind wanders away at any time, gently escort it back to the breath. 3 EXPANDING Now, expand the field of your awareness around your breath- ing so it includes a sense of the body as a whole, your posture, and facial expression. If you become aware of any sensations of discomfort, ten- sion, or resistance, take your awareness there by breathing into them on the in-breath. Then breathe out from those sensations, softening and opening with the out-breath. As best you can, bring this expanded awareness to the nex t moments of your day. Adapted from The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn. Reprinted by permission of Guilford Press. Visit the authors’ website at www.mbct.com 54 mindful August 2016