This is the fourth post in a series of helpful mental techniques or “tools” that I’ve learned in therapy. Today I’m going to talk about the Three Minute Breathing Space from The Mindful Way through Depression (which I highly recommend).
Three Minute Breathing Space (mini meditation)
Step 1: Become aware of the present moment.
What is my experience right now?
What thoughts are going through my mind? (Remember that thoughts are just mental events.)
What feelings are here? (Acknowledging even the uncomfortable without judgement.)
What body sensations are here? (Tightness, bracing, etc.)
Step 2: Redirect attention to the breath.
Focus on the sense of the breath in the belly expanding, rising and falling.
Follow the breath all the way in and all the way out for a number of breaths.
If the mind wanders, acknowledge where it went then guide it back to the breath.
Step 3: Expand awareness to the body as a whole.
Experience all the sensations from head to foot, inside and out. (Not trying to change them.)
Perhaps saying, “Whatever it is, it’s already here. Let me feel it.”
Breathe into any place of discomfort on the in breath and breathing out from it on the out breath.
Now, bring this expanded, accepting awareness to the next moments and activities of the day.
I find this process to be extremely calming and grounding. I’ve used it at home, at work, while I’m driving – pretty well any time I feel the need and can privately quiet my mind. Because it’s so short, it’s more easy and practical to work into my life. I find it helps prevent me from getting caught up in a cycle of negative thought patterns or worry. It also creates awareness and a clearheaded frame of mind from which to make decisions and continue with a situation and the rest of my day.
Do you practice any type of meditation?
Other topics I’ve covered in this series are:
–identifying and replacing unhelpful thinking styles
–intentionally practicing gratitude