When you next grab a hot drink, pause for a moment, hold the cup and feel the warmth through your hands, take in the aroma and be aware of the heat rising from the cup, take your first sip and taste fully, become aware of the sensation of the liquid moving across your lips, tongue and down your throat. See how far down you can follow the drink in your body. This mindful moment will develop your ability to direct and hold your attention, try and make it part of your daily routine. With an activity such as mindfulness or meditation there is a lot of information out there and expectations are often high for those who start these practises. So even though people are aware of all the proven benefits of such practises, most who start fall by the wayside. Well what if... that is exactly how your journey into mindfulness and meditation should be... what if, the break between practises is beneficial... What if, seeking a practice and an approach is a unique path for you to find. So that the more times you start and seemingly fail, you are in fact starting and learning and evolving in your own unique way.. For me I believe there is no right or wrong way for you to evolve and the more that you learn to trust your own discernment and sense of inner wellbeing, the more you will get from such
Your attention is one of your most valuable assets, because who or what you give your attention to not only affects the world around you but more importantly dictates your inner reality. Where you direct your attention creates an emotional response, even if you are unaware of that response, which in turn drives your behaviour. However when you move your point of attention you create a different internal experience. So if you want to learn how to improve your inner reality, then you should start by learning how to direct and hold you own attention, rather than be a slave to the external world that is constantly trying to get your attention. Mindfulness Meditation is one of the best ways to practice this skill.
As a human you are a fully integrated physical, mental and emotional being. This means that when you become mentally overwhelmed, the emotional and physical aspects of you adjust and match this mental activity, so you end up holding physical tension, feeling emotionally uneasy and your breathing patterns alter. This interconnection however, also allows us to implement exercises that when repeated and committed to, will calm the busiest of minds. A simple breathing exercise Consciously start to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Now count to four as you breathe in and then breathe out to the count of eight, Next, keep the inhale to a count of 4 but extend the out breath to a count of 12 and for each following breath maintain the inhale at 4, but slowly increase the length of the exhale to 14, 16, 18, 20 etc. Focus on deep abdominal breaths, where your stomach rises as you inhale and falls as you exhale. Use your tongue and lips to restrict the exhale which will make it easier to extend the out breath. Throughout this exercise keep the exhale comfortable but full, so you might only be able to initially exhale comfortably up to a count of 8 or 10, which is fine, over time this will increase. I would suggest you do about ten rounds of this elongation of the out breath. After this exercise give yourself a few moments to let go of the conscious breath and allow your breathing to return to a natural rhythm.