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« Free Your Mind from All or Nothing Thinking | Main | What Chronic Illness Taught Me About Mindfulness »
Saturday
Nov082008

How to Use Your Breath to Relax Your Mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been getting some questions in my inbox about “how to relax your mind” so I thought I’d write about one very simple way I learned that helps the mind relax by first using three senses (sight, sound and touch) to occupy it and then gradually tuning out until just one point of focus is left and a sense of relaxation is naturally experienced.

When Meditation Can Feel Nasty

One of the challenges in relaxing the mind is that it's practically impossible to think of nothing. Our thoughts come and go constantly and if we are feeling anxious when we try to relax or meditate sometimes our attention is tuned in to that anxiety. We can even feel worse as the distractions we use to keep unwanted thoughts at bay fade away and we are left facing our fears without diversion.

To Relax Your Mind Give it Something to Do

If your mind is behaving like a kid in a waiting room and is really having trouble keeping still and quiet, you need to learn to distract it with mindfulness. Rather than using TV, or rushing about to escape stress and unwanted thoughts, you can distract your mind with something naturally soothing and relaxing, something that can flip the switch between stress and relaxation in minutes. Your breath.

One of the easiest and most pleasant ways to do this is to use Restful Awareness. Restful awareness is a kind of mindful breathing exercise that reigns your mind in to specific points of focus that will keep it distracted but also lead it into relaxation.

How to Use Your Senses to Achieve Restful Awareness

Pick a time when you can indulge yourself for just 10 minutes. Sit, or lay down, with a blanket over your legs and begin to deepen and lengthen your breath. Let your shoulders relax, and decorate your face with a slight smile to relax your mouth and jaw.

Using Sight: Put your attention on a spot in front of you. Allow your peripheral vision to bring you information about what is to your left and to your right, but you just keep looking straight ahead with a softened gaze.

Using Sound: Now tune your ears to the sound of your breath. Hear it enter your body, and hear it leave. Notice any difference in sound between inhalation and exhalation.

Using Touch: Feel your breath as it enters your body through your nose. Focus on its temperature, and the feel of its movement. And focus on the different sensations it makes as it leaves.

Your mind is now preoccupied with relaxing points of awareness and you will notice that you begin to feel calmer already.

Tuning Out the Senses for Deeper Relaxation

Now gently close your eyes and leave yourself focused entirely on your breath. Put your relaxed attention on the sound of your breath and the feel of your breath. And remain like that for a few moments.

Now bring your attention to one sense only, and give your full attention to the feel of your breath, relax and breath deeply as you feel your breath enter and leave your body.

Enjoy the calm for a few minutes and return to wakeful activity feeling relaxed and refreshed when you feel ready.


For maximum relaxation you can download an MP3 with relaxing music and a step-bystep walkthrough of this deeply relaxing experience below, when new to mindful breathing it’s easier to calm your mind when someone else is coaching you, but with a little practice you will be able to enjoy a few stolen moments of restful calm anywhere and anytime you choose.

Photo Beauty in Her Mind's Eye by Heidi seeing

 

 

Restful Awareness Guided Meditation MP3

 

 

Discover how to use the art of restful awareness to sink into a state of deep relaxation with this wonderful mindfulness meditation.

Perfect for beginners looking for relief from stress.

Mindfulness Meditation MP3 Download full details...

Instant Download | Time: 12 minutes | Price: $3.93

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  • Response
    Response: eye exercises
    Thanks for the quality article. I bookmarked your website and will definitely be back for more!!! Keep up the good work please.

Reader Comments (1)

thanks for the lovely relaxation techniques.
relaxation is crucial to the effectiveness of healing. for example with eye exercises you cannot really get as much progress as you would if you would combine it with powerful relaxation and off course visualization techniques

Sep 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVision Correction

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