Cindy Hoard

Inspirational Author and Psychologist

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This week let us try using our breathing to access and focus our Mindfulness. This is about present moment awareness, which does not require particular action. It is literally “being aware of” your body, emotions and your surroundings. You are also tuning into sensations of sights, sounds, smells, tastes and where you feel sensations physically in your body.

Some Experiments and Experiences
When we slow down and take our deep cleansing breaths, we can open our awareness to many things in our body and immediate surroundings.

  • Try practicing your breathing in different positions, laying down, sitting up with a straight back in a chair or piece of furniture, just walking around your home, or outside. Use a minimum of 3 breaths and increase the length of the inhales and exhales gradually.
  • How about breathing with your eyes closed, or focused on one specific thing in your surroundings, looking up into the sky, or just gazing down at the floor or ground. What do you notice that is the same or different with each breath?
  • Experiment with a piece of “chewy” food (e.g., raisin, jerky, licorice, nuts, piece of fruit). Begin checking it out with your senses (e.g., smell, taste, touch, listen, look at). Chew it slowly and feel your tongue move a piece around in your mouth. Of course, you want to use your conscious breathing to stay in awareness.

If IS NOT About Thinking or Doing – Just Awareness
Another way to say this is to “Be in the moment.” That does not require specific actions, which is counter to our sense of responsibility to “Do something.” You are simply “paying attention” to “NOW”. Yesterday and tomorrow are either done and over with or unpredictable. The present moment is the most valuable and important.

What If My Thoughts Start Wandering Off?
It is highly likely that your thoughts will wander off at different times. Just come back to your awareness in the present moment. Distractions can melt away for at least a little bit. Hopefully you realize that there is so much taking place in the present moment, there is enough to keep your attention in the present moment. Those distractions will still be there when you are done with your present moment experience.

What Kinds of Change May Take Place?
Please accept my nerdiness for just a few breaths. Scientific research has documented decreased stress, increased sleep and improved mood as just some of the results of practicing breathing and mindfulness regularly. Remember there is not a “required” amount of time set aside for these practices. Just give yourself the gift of making the time to deeply breathe and commune with the Present Moment.

What did you discover? How did you feel? What is getting in the way?
Let me know your thoughts and experiences. Cindy

Photo credit: Karen Platt – Unsplash.com