Mindfulness is the ability to pay careful attention to what you’re thinking, feeling, and sensing in the present moment without judging those thoughts and feelings as good or bad. Countless studies link mindfulness to better health, lower anxiety, and greater resilience to stress. Thus, let’s create time in our schedule to take a few mindful minutes a couple of times a day to help bring us back to the here and now.
The most basic way to do mindful breathing is simply to focus your attention on your breath, the inhale and exhale. Ideally you want to be sitting or even lying in a comfortable position. It is best to close your eyes since it usually helps to maintain your focus. It is helpful if you can set aside certain times during the day for this exercise. The more you practice mindful breathing, the more it helps, especially during difficult situations.
1. Start by taking some exaggerated breaths: a deep inhale through your nostrils (3 seconds), hold your breath (2 seconds), and a long exhale through your mouth (4 seconds). Try and focus on the rise and fall of your belly.
2. It’s very common that your mind will wonder as it is distracted by thoughts about the past or the future. That’s ok! Just notice that this is happening and gently bring your attention back to your breath. When your mind wonders, you can say “thinking” or “wandering” in your head softly. Just gently redirect your attention right back to the breath.
3. Notice and try to relax your body. Focus on your senses while you are breathing. Tune into your breath and notice where the breath is in your body. See if you can feel the sensation of breath, one breath at a time.
4. Stay here for five to seven minutes. Notice your breath, in silence. From time to time, you’ll get lost in thought so return to your breath.
5. After a few minutes, once again notice your body seated here. Let yourself relax a little more deeply. Appreciate yourself for doing this practice today.