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Mindfulness: A Simple Practice

Mindfulness: A Simple Practice

If you believe that mindfulness practices calm a stressed person, that is only half the story.

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Whether you’re stressed or at ease, mindfulness practices can help you. If you are content with your life, a regular practice of mindfulness will increase your contentment levels.

And your practice will give you the support you need when you encounter challenging situations.

If you are stressed, then you need to develop techniques to change that ‘flight or fight’ response to one of calm.

In this article, I’m going to share a simple mindfulness practice which you can adopt starting today.

There is a reason why I call it a practice – the more frequently you do it, the more you may benefit from it.

Doing this practice once a day is very good. Doing it twice a day is great, and if you can develop your practice to three times a day, then you may find that the benefits add up faster.

Keep in mind that mindfulness is not an over-the-counter pill that will instantly relieve your stress.

But even if you don’t notice any difference the first few times you do it, your body will certainly notice the difference.

If you are a skeptic, like me, try a simple journaling method.

Write one word to describe how you feel. Then practice. After the practice, write one word to describe how you feel.

Try the journaling-practice-journaling method for two weeks, and then decide for yourself.

The Practice

First, identify what positive element you would like to bring in to your life through your practice.

For illustration, let us say you want peace. If you are journaling, your one-word status may give you an indication of what you most need at this time.

Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.

Consciously relax your shoulders and any part of your body that feels tense.

Then bring your attention to the soles of your feet. Imagine cords from your soles going through the floor, deep into the earth. As you breathe in, imagine that you are breathing in peace.

As you breathe out, you are sending any thoughts, feelings, words, actions that don’t bring in peace, out your feet, through the cord and deep into the earth.

If it helps, you may even visualize something leaving your body through your feet and going deep into the earth.

Continue to breathe in and out in this way for a few cycles.

If other thoughts intrude on your consciousness, just acknowledge them and continue breathing.

Breathing in, I am breathing in peace.

Breathing out, I am breathing out anything that is not peace, and sending it through my feet deep into the earth’s crust.

Breathing in, I am breathing in peace.

And so on.

Now on to Part 2:  Breathe in, taking your breath deep into your abdomen. It may be helpful to lightly be aware of your ‘dantien’, an energy center that is a couple of inches below your navel.

But don’t worry about locating it precisely. Just bring your attention to just below your navel.

Every time you breathe in, imagine your breath going into this general area in your abdomen.

When you breathe out, imagine that you are breathing out peace.

Breathing in, I am breathing in peace.

Breathing out, I am breathing out peace.

Repeat for a few cycles and finish with a feeling of gratitude.

If you are a beginner at mindfulness,  you may wish to set a timer for two minutes.

Do the first part of the exercise for one minute, and the second part for one minute.  Or, skip the timer and stop when you feel like you’ve done enough.

As you progress in your practice, I invite you to incorporate this practice at other unscheduled times.

Perhaps you may wish to practice when you are standing in line at the grocery checkout, or when you are waiting for an appointment.

Customize this practice for your own lifestyle, and reap the benefits!

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