La Trobe Counselling Service
- Mindfulness of an Object (Hand)
This exercise is about moving your attention to something outside you. You can pick any object that you can see and one of the most useful is your hands, as you have them with you already. So, in this case, we will be practicing mindfulness of the hand. This practice of focusing on something outside of ourselves is very useful when we are feeling agitated or anxious. This exercise is also useful for observing without judgement, the idea is not to criticise your hands, the idea is just to notice and describe.
Settle into a comfortable position. Start by placing your feet squarely on the ground and sitting up in your chair so your back is straight, not rigid. Check that your head feels square on your shoulders and place your arms in a comfortable position at your side or on your lap. Gently close your eyes. If you’re not comfortable closing your eyes, close them half way and focus them on a non – distracting spot in front of you. The purpose of this posture is to help you stay awake and alert as you practice mindfulness.
Start by taking a few deep breaths, with the air coming in and out through your nostrils. Pause. Then gently allow your breath to return to whatever rhythm feels natural for you at the moment. See if you can become aware of those parts of your body that are coming into contact with the chair you are sitting on, and notice your feet on the ground. Now open your eyes and bring attention to the back of your hand (either hand it doesn’t matter).
Just notice the back of your hand. Try not to move it. Describe how they look. Notice the lines on your hands. See the lines and veins.
Pretend that you are an alien and this is the first time that you have seen a hand. What do you see now? Look at your hand in wonder, can you imagine it’s potential? Imagine when you were a baby with brand new hands, now notice the years of labour and experience that your hands have been through. Your inner child loves your hand, it has helped you explore the world. You have held hands with others and others have held your hand, they are tools and they are a way to express yourself.
Thank your hand and return to the breath.
Notice the room and when you are ready, let go of this exercise. You might like to shift of have a stretch.