Mindfulness Exercises

Some mindfulness practices to rebalance and build stress resilience

 

4-7-8 breath practice: this is a simple breath practice that you can do anywhere

  • Sit in a relaxed position with your eyes open or closed, feet on the floor, relaxing back into your chair.
  • Slowly inhale through your nose for the count of 4 with your tongue resting on the roof of your mouth.
  • Hold the breath for a count of 7
  • Slowly exhale for a count of 8 relaxing your tongue in your mouth. Your exhale should be twice as long as your inhale.
  • Do this breath for 2-4 rounds.
  • You can build up to longer cycles of inhalation and exhalation for example breathing in for 6 and exhaling for a count of 12.

 

Body Scan technique: This simple relaxation technique will calm you down and focus your energy to create more awareness of your body so you can manage stress, pain or illness when they arise. It will help you to connect to the signs of stress and manage it before it turns into a chronic condition. You can find a guided video practice on the internet or guide yourself through this practice. This technique scans your entire body from your feet to your head.

  • Relax into your chair if you are sitting, you can also do this one lying down or standing. If you are sitting, place your feet on the floor with your arms in a relaxed position. Gently close your eyes.
  • Begin breathing through your nose deeply into your lower belly below your naval, followed by a long slow exhalation through your nose.
  • Take a few slow deep breaths in this manner and focus your mind on the breath bringing in a quiet, focused mind. Let go of any distracting thoughts that may come in and reconnect your attention to your breath.
  • As you breathe slowly inhaling and exhaling send your focus to each body part sequentially starting with your toes and release any tension or pain that you are holding there and relax each body part as you scan up the body from your toes to the top of your head.
  • Start with your feet and work your way up: toes, feet, ankles, lower legs, upper legs, sitting bones, hips, lower abdomen, stomach, torso, chest, back, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, neck face and head.
  • For your final breath, inhale to pull the breath from the feet up the body and exhale to release the breath out the top of the head.

 

Metta Meditation for Loving Kindness (Buddhist Practice):

This technique does not take long to do, but is a very deep and effective meditation. Use virtuous words such as freedom, happiness, peace, love, kindness, prosperity, tenderness, wisdom, etc. Use words such as “be”, “find” or “experience.” For example: May I be free; May I find happiness; May I experience love; May I be love… You get the idea.

 

Metta Meditation comes to us from Buddhist practices. It helps us generate virtues such as forgiveness, peace, compassion and loving kindness. The object is to be kind and loving to your self, a loved one, your real or perceived enemy and finally to project virtue toward anything that is more global (e.g. the oceans, suffering people in the world, the forests, etc.). Focus on whomever or whatever object your heart calls to you.

 

You are the object of your meditation first. Secondly, use the slogans of someone’s name, an image of someone who has been kind to you or for whom you deeply care. Thirdly, if you feel comfortable, the next object of attention would be someone or something who has hurt you or triggered you in some way; a business deal that went south, an ex-lover, or someone who has abused you. (You do not have to do this if there are still strong emotional triggers. Use common sense, as this is about love and not intended to “stir the emotional pot.” But sometimes emotional things arise. Be present.)

 

1).   May I (state your name) find happiness. May I (state your name) find the deep root of happiness. (Sit with this a while and feel it.)

2).   May (your loved one’s name) find happiness. May (their name) find the deep root of happiness. (See them showered in happiness.)

3).   May (your perceived enemy or area of discord; a part of your body) find happiness. May (same object of discord) find the deep root of happiness. (Shower them or it with happiness.)

4).   May (global focus) find happiness. May (global focus) find the deep root of happiness. (Shower happiness into and onto the object of your attention.)

 

Directing Loving – Kindness categories:

1).   Self

2).   Teacher or Mentor

3).   Loved One (family member or good friend)

4).   Neutral Person (someone you don’t know like a neighbor, someone at work or a store clerk)

5).   Difficult person (someone who is challenging in your life)

6).   All Beings (all people, animals)

 

Other Phrases you can use:

May I (he/she) be happy

May I (he/she) be healthy

May I (he/she) be peaceful

May I (he/she) be safe

Let me (him/her) live with ease

Let me (him/her) be free of worry

Let me (him/her) feel safe and protected

 

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