Let's just take a deep breath...
In moments of stress, anger, upset, my mum used to say….”take a breath and count to 10!”
The purpose being to take space to respond with thoughtfulness and balanced emotions.
Well, we have advanced from there thank goodness…or have we? The level of stress and anxiety is rampant in the Western world. Children as young as 6years of age are experiencing intense anxiety and deep depression. The pace of life for all ages and backgrounds can be overwhelming as we become a sicker, more volatile society – at home and work.
The good news is however, it’s the simple things that can make a huge difference. Breathing is something that we all do, all of the time – yet we are often not aware of how it feels in the moment. By bringing our focus intentionally onto the breath we can ground ourselves in what is happening right now. We can practice observing without reacting, experiencing each breath as it happens without feeling a need to change it.
You can do this exercise for just a few minutes, or for longer periods. Although the intention is to focus on the breath, you will begin to experience how unfocused our minds can be! You may find that your mind wanders a hundred times, or just a few. It is okay for this to happen and it doesn't mean that you are doing anything wrong. When you notice your mind has wandered, gently but firmly bring your attention back to the breath.
Firstly, find a space to sit with a straight back, prop up with pillows if required to support you. NO lying down as we don’t want you nodding off. The purpose of this exercise is to heighten your awareness, not to slumber. You may however, choose to close your eyes or keep them open.
Gently moving your attention onto the process of your breath - notice the sensations of each breath as it happens, whether you focus on the rise and fall of your chest or abdomen, or on the feeling of the breath just below the nostrils, on the space above your top lip. Really feel what it is like to breath, just observing it as it happens. Each time your conscious mind wanders (and it will do this often), gently observe the thought, thank it and bring your focus back to the breath.
Take a few moments to yourself, connecting with your experience in the present moment. Expand your awareness from the breath into the space around you, and as you feel comfortable to do so, opening your eyes and bringing the exercise to a close.
Do this for 10minutes each day, every day for 1 week. Choose a time you will not be disturbed, away from all electrical and communication gadgets and simply…breathe.
Tip 1#: For those who are time poor, there is an App you may like to try, which you can set for the time without it letting off a massive sound which can ramp the tension at the end and undo all the good you’ve just achieved.
Tip 2#: For the best results, in the space of each breath in and breath out, pause for a count of four. This space between breaths is magic.
Be present & breathe
Adv.Dip.Clin.Hyp Adv.Dip.Psychotherapy Adv.Dip.NLP Acc.Reiki Practitioner