How mindfulness and relaxation can help you

Taking time out for yourself is key, particularly when you or someone close to you is coming to terms with a long-term or terminal illness and the physical and mental toll that takes. Below you’ll find lots of resources from our team, which you can access for free, whenever you need them, as well as links to resources from other trusted wellbeing and mental health organisations.

relaxation mental health mindfulness

Mindfulness techniques

Mindfulness is a skill which teaches you to be present with whatever is going on – good or bad – and relieves tension by accepting what is happening from moment to moment. It has its roots in Buddhism and meditation, but you don’t have to be spiritual or have beliefs to try it out.

With practice, the raised awareness and open approach of Mindfulness can reduce suffering and increase your well-being by helping you to:

  • Become more self-aware.
  • Feel calmer and less stressed.
  • Feel more able to choose how you respond to thoughts/feelings.
  • Cope with difficult thoughts.
  • Be kinder to yourself.
mindfulness general health

Mindfulness audio resources

Gwendoline, one of our Occupational Therapists, put together these short mindfulness and relaxation exercises.

They aim to make you feel more centred or grounded, to enable you to pause from the constant stream of thoughts and emotions. It is helpful at the moment but also over time if you use this daily to build up your emotional resilience.

Mindfulness of the senses meditation (8 minutes)

Immerse yourself in this resource based on awareness of all your senses.

As with all mindfulness and relaxation strategies, the aim is not to achieve a blank mind but to notice what is happening in our bodies and immediate environment. Noticing things for what they are, without judgement. If thoughts pop into your head, that is entirely normal. That is what our brains are designed to do. Just take this as an opportunity to be kind to yourself. Notice the thoughts and then redirect your attention back to the present moment. That in itself is practising mindfulness.

Mindfulness of the breath exercise (9 minutes)

Using the rhythm of your breathing to practice your mindfulness.

Relaxation techniques

Relaxation might not make what you are stressed or worried about disappear, but it can give you a break from these feelings and help you refocus. It doesn’t have to take up much of your time and can be as simple as stepping away from your daily routine to feel calmer. You can try these strategies:

  • Take a break and do something you enjoy – read a book, enjoy a bath, listen to music, watch a film, or do a spot of something creative – arts, crafts or baking, perhaps.
  • Take some gentle exercise – a short walk or perhaps some gentle yoga or stretching- from your chair or bed.
  • Spend time in nature, noticing your surroundings – trees, plants, flowers, animals.
  • Step away from technology for a while – try turning off your phone for an hour or switch off the TV briefly.
  • Visualise yourself somewhere you feel calm, where you find it peaceful and relaxing. Shut your eyes and try to transport yourself there, and think about the detail of what’s around you – colours, shapes, sounds and smells.
mindfulness and relaxation garden birds

Relaxation audio resources

Passive body relaxation meditation (12 minutes)

Listen to this meditation centred on your breathing and the sounds around you.

Square breathing exercise (5 minutes)

Intended to promote a sense of calm and help you regain control over your breathing.

Fifteen-minute visualisation of a beach meditation (15 minutes)

Listen to this meditation based on a beach visualisation, providing deep relaxation.

Relaxation video resources

Pause for five minutes and enjoy this short Nature Calms video by Lesley Oates, our Complementary Therapy Education Facilitator.

It should help you connect with the natural world’s restorative effect, even if you’re not able to go outside. You can replay this whenever you feel worried or unsettled.

Maybe find a special plant or tree in your garden, or even one of your potted plants, and sit and look at how beautiful the foliage, buds, and flowers are and how wonderfully your plant freely shares its radiance with you to make you feel better.

Other useful resources

  • Useful Links Directory

    Head to our Useful Links Directory Mental Health section to see a range of trusted organisations that can provide support.

  • Relaxation tips

    Fellow UK charity Mind provides advice and support for anyone experiencing issues with their mental health.

  • About mindfulness

    Fellow UK charity Mind provides advice and support for anyone experiencing issues with their mental health.

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