Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder and former director of the stress reduction clinic at University of Massachusetts, helped bring mindfulness mediation into mainstream medicine and has skillfully demonstrated the improvements and positive outcome that people adopt when they practice mindfulness. For quite a while, I have made a commitment to take the time to put daily exercises in to my life. I have always used relaxation techniques and deep breathing as ways to help others to reduce panic and anxiety, get better sleep, and be able to focus better. It appeared that everywhere I looked there was an article about mindfulness with pain management, addiction, chronic illness, depression and insomnia. My own practice of meditation and breathing techniques, however, was limited. Therefore, I enrolled in a course on Mindfulness Training. By practicing and focusing on the present without judgement, I began to feel more in control of my own personal worries.
I have been introducing Mindfulness in my sessions at MPG. The art of breathing is one of the best free tools we have on the planet. When you begin to study your breath, you open a world of connection to your body. Personally, it allows me to pause. In a session with a couple, I may ask them to stay in the moment and stop and breathe in a heated conversation. The burst of insight and energy that you can get as you pay attention, on purpose, and stay in the present moment can often lead to an “aha” experience. Sometimes a pause gives us time to recognize and respond, perhaps differently, to life’s events.
In the time you took to read this, you can practice. It really does not matter if you are sitting at your desk or lying on your bed. Just focus, really focus on your breath for one full minute. Begin by breathing in and out slowly, allowing 6 seconds for each cycle of breath. Breathe in your nose and out your mouth, letting the breath flow effortlessly. In and out. In and out.
Put your “to do” list on the back burner and simply sit still and breathe. As you focus on your breath, you will be more aware of the sounds around you. It is very satisfying and relaxing. Try it now. It’s simple and you are on your way to developing a way to calm your mind.