Learning how to quiet the mind can be a real step forward for wellbeing. Stopping the constant worry, chatter, negatives, anxiety...
It’s something that takes practice, but with the help of this simple exercise, you can do it.
You can do this in any situation — whether you’re stressed out and anxious, you can’t sleep, you’re stuck in a worry loop, you’re trying to calm yourself before exams, presentations, or competition.
First, find a quiet place you can relax and listen to your favorite track. Put on your headphones, get comfortable, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Make sure the volume is not too high
Take a few deep cleansing breaths. This will help your body and mind relax.
The rest of the exercise can be done as many times as you like. Warning: It’s deceptively simple but actually quite challenging!
First, connect with the breath. When is the last time you really paid attention to your breathing? To silence the mind, there really is no better tool. In this exercise, don’t control the breath in any way. Let it be how it is and become an impartial observer.
Bring your focus to the inhale. Become aware of the breath as it enters your nose and moves through the breathing passages. Feel the expansion of the abdomen as your lungs fill up.
Note the pause — the silence — between inhale and exhale. This silence and stillness is what you’re aiming for, both physically and mentally. Now focus on the exhale.
What are the sensations you feel as the air leaves your body?
Again, take note of the pause between exhale and inhale, that momentary stillness and silence.
Do this for a few minutes to allow your body and mind to relax deeper.
As your mental chatter slows down, you will start to count to ten on every half-breath: one on the inhale, two on the exhale, three on the inhale and so on until you get to ten (feel free to repeat as many times as you like). Again you’re not controlling the breath in any way, just counting the breaths and noticing the silence/pause between inhale and exhale.
In the beginning as you’re learning this practice, it will be hard to stop thoughts from intruding and interrupting your count. That’s okay!
Just as you’re watching your breath, momentarily watch your thoughts. Notice them, acknowledge them, and return to your breathing exercise. Continue the exercise by starting over at the count of one whenever you notice that a thought has intruded.
It sounds simple, but in truth it can be a very difficult exercise when first learning how to quiet the mind.However, it leads to amazing mental mastery and with practice, you WILL get it, and feel such a great sense of accomplishment when you do!