Mindful awareness

Use the mindful awareness worksheet to take a moment to check-in with what you're thinking and feeling.


Mindful awareness is a way to focus on our thoughts with curiosity and without judgment, rather than engaging in a process of disputing or challenging them. The mindful awareness worksheet can help us to do that. Use it when you notice that you are feeling upset or troubled and are struggling with uncomfortable or unpleasant thoughts, in particular about events that appear to be out of your control. The mindful awareness worksheet and exercise can help to ground or re-centre you when there is a danger of getting caught up in an unhelpful struggle with difficult thoughts and feelings.

The first step is to take a moment to pause and breathe. Use the bell timer to choose a time from 1 to 5 minutes just to close your eyes, if that's appropriate, and focus on your breathing. Don't become concerned if your attention wanders; that's perfectly normal. Just return your attention gently and kindly back to the breath. When the bell sounds for a second time, open your eyes, take a moment to reorientate yourself, and complete the rest of the form.

Now observe what's going on within you and around you. Notice any physical sensations in your body and any emotions that are present. Notice what's going through your mind, as if you were listening to a radio station that is playing your thoughts out loud. Notice who or what is around you and what effect your environment is having on your level of comfort and distress.

Next, take a moment to reflect on what you have observed: what are your thoughts, feelings and sensations telling you about what's important to you, or what you might want or need right at this moment. Ask yourself what you would need to do to meet your needs and, if that's not possible, how you will cope for the time being with not having what you want or need.

Finally, think about what you can do that will be effective. How well will it help you to get you what you want or need? What effect might your actions have on other people and your relationship to them? Will your actions respect both your own rights and responsibilities and those of other people? How will your actions affect how you feel about yourself: to what extent will your behaviour leave you feeling capable and with an enhanced sense of your own integrity and self-respect?

Show instructions
Pause and breathe: set the timer to a duration of silence in which to focus on your breathing. You can choose between 1 and 5 minutes; when you click on the play button a bell will ring at the beginning and end of the duration you selected (if your browser suports it).
Observe: notice with curiosity and without judgement (as best you can) all the thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and urges that you are experiencing at this moment.
Consider: what are these thoughts, feelings, sensations and urges telling you?
Act: what do you want and what do you need to do to achieve it? If it involves asking for something from another person, or saying no to them, how can you do so in a way that protects the relationship and maintains your dignity and self-respect?

You can email the details of the form to yourself (or your CBT therapist, if appropriate), print it out, or download it as a pdf. If you want to save your entries so that you can work on them later, you can click "Save". You can delete your settings by clicking on "Cancel" when the page is reloaded and they will be deleted automatically. You can also click the "Clear" button at any time to reset the form and delete your saved data. Saving the data uses local storage, which means your data is never passed to us. Some browsers do not allow local storage. If you have a problem saving, check whether a different browser, or a different device, might work better. Your confidentiality is very important to us so your saved data will never be sent to us or shared. If you use a shared device, or think that another person might get access to it, please consider the risk of accidentally breaching your own privacy before choosing to save, email or download your use of these resources.