Step 1: Get settled
Find a quiet space where you can relax. Sit comfortably in a chair with your hands resting in your lap or on your knees. Keep your back straight – sitting at the front of the seat might help. Your neck should be relaxed, with your chin slightly tucked in.
Step 2: Breathe deeply
Defocus your eyes, gazing softly into the middle distance. Take five deep, audible breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. On the last exhalation, allow your eyes to close.
Step 3: Check in
Take a few moments to settle into your body. Gently observe your posture and notice the sensations where your body touches the chair and your feet meet the ground. Feel the weight of your arms and hands resting on your legs. Acknowledge your senses: notice anything you can smell, hear or taste and sensations of heat, cold or wind.
Step 4: Scan your body
Slowly turn your mind inwards. Scan your body from head to toe, observing any tension or discomfort. Don’t try to change what you find, simply take note of it. Scan again, although this time notice which parts of the body feel relaxed. Take about 20 seconds for each scan. Now turn your awareness to your thoughts. Notice any thoughts that arise without attempting to alter them. Gently note your underlying mood, just becoming aware of what’s there without judgment. If there’s nothing obvious, that’s fine, too.
Step 5: Observe the breath
Bring your attention to your breathing. Don’t make any effort to change it, just observe the rising and falling sensation that it creates in your body. Notice where these sensations occur – be it your belly, your chest, your shoulders, or anywhere else. For a few moments, focus on the quality of each breath, noting whether it’s deep or shallow, long or short, fast or slow. Begin silently counting the breaths: 1 as you inhale, 2 as you exhale, 3 on the next inhalation, and so on, up to 10. Then start again at 1. While doing this, it’s completely normal for thoughts to bubble up. You don’t need to “do” anything – just guide your attention back to the breath when you realise the mind has wandered off. If you can remember the number you’d counted up to, start again from there, or simply start from 1 again. Continue until the timer sounds
Step 6: Allow your mind to be free
Spend 20-30 seconds just sitting. You might find yourself inundated with thoughts and plans or feel calm and focused. Whatever happens is completely fine. Enjoy the rare chance to let your mind simply be.
Step 7: Prepare to finish
Become aware once more of the physical feelings: of the chair beneath you, where your feet make contact with the floor, your arms and your hands resting in your lap. Notice anything you can hear, smell, taste or feel. When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes.
If you’re new to meditation we have found the app headspace really helpful. Headspace is a guided meditation app that offers short meditation exercise for daily use.