In case you’ve forgotten, a few ways your body, mind, and spirit can be affected by slowing down include reduced stress, strengthened immune system, enhanced emotional stability, and a greater sense of overall well-being.
Today’s tip is one that you can practice anywhere, anytime—literally. All you need is your breath and one empty hand. It’s easiest to learn this with both hands, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can even do it with both hands full (while driving, for example, or while holding both a child and a grocery cart). Using gentle touch helps to ground your thoughts and awareness. It brings your attention to your body, which helps you to remember where you are, right here, right now.
Focusing on the rhythms of your breath immediately calms your mind, relaxes your nervous system, and brings you into a calm awareness of the present moment. It helps you to concentrate with a clear head and soft heart. You can practice this tip as often as you like!
Stuff to Know:
- Breath work and meditation should be used in conjunction with conventional medical or psychological care, not as a substitute for it. If you are suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts, severe anxiety, an eating disorder, or other psychological or emotional distress, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional before practicing meditation.
How to Relax and Focus in Just Ten Breaths
- First, relax your hands. Rest your thumbs gently at the base of your same-hand index fingers.
- Inhale as you slowly slide your thumbs to the tip of your index fingers. Exhale as you slide your thumbs back to the starting point.
- Move your thumbs to the base of your middle fingers and repeat.
- Repeat again on your ring fingers and pinkie fingers.
- Then, repeat your pinkie finger again. Move your thumbs to the base of your ring fingers and repeat. Work your way all the way back to where you originally began.
- After you’ve completed your index finger again, relax your hands. Take two long and slow breaths, savoring the moment.
- Don’t force it! Just breathe and slide your thumbs along your fingers. It’s that simple :-)
- Keep your breath gentle—do not over-fill your lungs or make noises. The simpler, the better.
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Questions for readers:
Do you practice breath work during the day?
Do you have any tips for everyday relaxation?