The Three Minute Breathing Space was developed as a part of mindful therapy and it can be used by anyone who wishes to be mindful. It is not unusual for people to take a breathing space for a few minutes during their day. Some people do this without even realising it. The three minute breathing space is a more deliberate and structured way of taking a break and requires your full attention. Read the instructions a few times before trying the exercise.

There are three main stages to this exercise:

Awareness
The first step is to turn on your awareness, paying particular attention to the present moment. Turn off your auto-pilot and check in with yourself. Be aware of your breathing. Do a quick body scan and accept any sensations you feel whether they are good or bad.  Become aware of your thoughts, try to free yourself from them, be aware of your emotions and accept them whether they feel easy to feel or difficult to feel. You may be thinking that this is a lot to cover in just one minute or one breath, but as you get more comfortable practicing this exercise, it will become like second nature to you.

Breathing
The next step is to focus your awareness on your breathing and take note of it without trying to adjust it or change it. It may change as a result of you stopping what you are doing and that is fine, keep a note of this too. Now take note of your abdomen and feel your breath as it goes in and out of your body. Next become aware of where your breath can be felt at each stage of the exercise. Is the breath in your lungs, in your chest, in your nose or is it in your mouth. Focus on following the breath as it traverses inside your body.

Expanding Awareness
The third and final step is to let your awareness pan out from your abdomen. Your breathing will be your guide. Allow your breath to fill your body and be aware of the warm calming sensation this will give you.

If you look at the three steps you will see they follow a pattern:

  • Step one starts with awareness of your whole body right at that moment, in other words, how you are in the present
  • Step two brings your awareness to the smallest part of your abdomen where your breathing begins
  • Step three opens your awareness again, bringing it back to your whole body thus creating a warm calming sensation

Please play the Three Minute Breathing Space file now. Allow ten minutes for this exercise.

Diary Questions: Please answer these questions in the ‘Take Notes’ Section.

  • Which minute was the easiest for you, which was the most difficult?
  • Which mental note made the most sense to you?

Assignment: Practise this exercise once a day for seven days.