I contributed some of my favorite exercises for mindfulness to a Mentally Fit article on mindfulness, enjoy! -Alyssa
- Sit comfortably in an upright but relaxed posture. Either close your eyes or gaze softly in front of you.
- Breathe normally, don’t try and control your breathing.
- Because the mind wanders, it can be helpful to have a mantra. I like to say in my head “in” on the inhale, then “out” on the exhale. You can say anything that helps you focus on the breath and that will bring you back to the breath when your attention shifts, which it will and is completely normal!
- When your attention drifts, gently bring it back to the breath and recite “in” and “out” in your mind while breathing normally.
- You can continue for as long as feels comfortable for you. Some people like to set a timer for a certain amount of time, like 10-20 minutes. If you’re just starting out, start at 5-10 minutes and gradually increase time from there.
- Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up when your attention moves from the breath to other thoughts, like your to-do list. The whole practice is noticing that your attention has drifted away and bringing yourself back to the breath.
- You can notice your thoughts but don’t create stories around them. Imagine that you are watching your thoughts float down a river, they are just passing you by while you focus on your breath.