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Simple but not easy…

I know when I first thought about mindfulness and meditation, I thought about Indian gurus spending their lives in caves in India practicing the art their entire lives. It seemed so unattainable!! But when I investigated further, I realized meditation, mindfulness, visualization, hypnosis-whatever you want to call it-is actually pretty simple. It can practiced in lots of different ways. Below is an example of focusing your attention on your breath.

Getting ready…

If you’re practicing mindfulness and focused attention for the first time, it’s a good idea to go to somewhere quiet, calm, and relaxing. If you can, turn down the lights. Turn off the TV or your music. Put on some loose and comfortable clothing. Get in a comfortable position. You can sit or lie down. Instructions, instructions eh?

Assume the position…

Relaxing in a chair

Rest your hands on your belly. Breathe in relaxation and breathe out the tension. If you need to, adjust your body so you feel really comfortable. Breathe in and breathe out. Do a body scan and focus your attention on any tight spots. Feel your hands move out as your breathe in and and your hands move inwards as you breathe out. Get into a comfortable rhythm with your breathing, slowing it down as you relax. Do this for 10 minutes.

The racing mind…

For most of us, our minds can start thinking of all sorts of different things as we try to focus on our breath. If and when these thoughts do come, observe them and return your attention to your breathing. There is no need to feel frustrated, to try to force the thoughts away, or to chastise yourself for having the thoughts come. Again, just notice them and focus on your breath, your hands, and the slow rhythmic motion of your belly. If it seems hard, accept what is and breathe.

When is it helpful to do this?

What do you think? When might it be helpful to practice this exercise? Would it be helpful when you’re feeling worried or need some way to manage your stress? Would it be effective as a way to slow down after a harried day? Would it be helpful as a way to start your day?

There are no right or wrong answers. I’d be interested in hearing from you. When might you use this practice?

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