Breath Counting

If you need another option to help you focus and be still, try “Breath Counting”. I’ve used this practice when I know it’s going to be hard for me to get ‘out of my head’ or when I know I need to be still, but I also need something to think about!

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Start with an inhale (remember you want a diaphragmatic breath that expands your belly, rib cage, and back, and stays out of your neck and shoulders).
  2. Pause.
  3. Exhale and at the very end of your out-breath, mentally count, “One”.
  4. Again, inhale, pause, exhale, and then at the end of your out-breath mentally count, “Two”.
  5. Keep counting like this at the end of every exhalation until you reach “Ten”. Then, starting counting backward — nine, eight, seven, six, etc. — until you reach “one” again.

Like a game, however, there is a rule here that you have to follow: If, because of random thoughts, you even briefly forget which number you’re on or you hesitate, then you must start over again at “one”. See if you can go all the way up to ten and back down to one again without making any mistakes. This will take about 3 minutes. When you can do this with ease, increase the count to 20. When that becomes easy, increase to 30.

Give it a shot…it might be a trick that works for you – now or in the future.

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