Health and wellbeing calendar

#Headstrong challenge


16 April 2019

Headstrong challenge: week one

Week 1.png

Welcome to the Headstrong challenge, which will guide you through the art of mindfulness over the next 4 weeks. Did you know that mindfulness can help to improve your mental and physical wellbeing?

Week one: Are you ready to be Headstrong?

For the first week we’ll be concentrating on mindful breathing. Mindful meditation focuses on breathing as way of paying attention to the moment. This calms the mind and the body and can help us improve our mental wellbeing and resilience.

So, how do you do it?

Find 10 minutes of quiet time

The goal for this week is to build up to 10 minutes per day of mindfulness. Ease into it by following these simple steps... 

  • Find a quiet place where you aren’t going to be disturbed by noise or interrupted by anything.
  • Start with 5 minutes, then add a minute per day so that you're able to do 10 minutes by the end of the week. The focus for this first stage is on your breathing.
  • Use a timer (instead of checking a clock) to let you know when your session is over.
Make sure you’re sitting comfortably

It's best to start by sitting upright, away from the back rest if you can. 

  • Place your feet on the floor apart, feel the floor beneath them.
  • Rest both hands on your thighs.
  • Relax your shoulders, arms, neck and legs.
  • Notice your body – feel how your bottom touches the seat and how your legs are bent.
  • Rest your eyes on the middle distance.
And breathe...


Slowly breathe in through your nose to the count of four (1 - 2 - 3 - 4) and out through your nose to a longer count of six (1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6).

  • Breathe deep from low down in your belly (filling your diaphragm, rather than your chest.) Relax with each breath, letting the air out slowly.
  • Feel the air leaving your lungs and how it passes out through your nose, pause slightly before breathing in again.
  • Focus all of your attention on your breathing. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breathing.
  • If a thought happens, notice it, don't make any judgement over it and allow it to pass. Return your attention to your breathing.

Repeat regularly throughout the day if possible, and take time to contemplate how each repetition of the exercise makes you feel and how it has affected a specific task.

Next week, we'll explore the body scan exercise, explaining how it can build on the final stage of mindful breathing we've just discussed.