But…the good news is that there are techniques your can use to learn mindfulness – to train the brain to be present. Last week I talked about practicing mindfulness in your daily life. Today, I want to introduce you to a type of meditation that is an easy and simple way to practice mindfulness.
Now, a lot of clients tell me that they don’t meditate because they can’t stop their mind from wandering. But…
The wandering mind is the NORMAL mind
It impossible to stop your mind from wandering. This is what your brain does and it is totally NORMAL for the brain to stray while meditation. This is actually a PART of the practice. Over time, there will be less wandering and and you will be less hard on yourself when your mind does wander.
Train your brain to focus with a breath count meditation
This simple technique can really help support this idea of being present in every moment by helping you develop your powers of intentional mindfulness and concentration.
Here’s how you do it:
- Find a comfortable seat in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed
- Set a timer for 10 minutes or more (most smartphones have timers built in)
- Take one deep breath in and out and close your eyes
- Take an inhale and exhale. At the end of your exhale silently count “one”
- Take an inhale and exhale. At the end of your exhale silently count “two”
- Take an inhale and exhale. At the end of your exhale silently count “three”
- Take an inhale and exhale. At the end of your exhale silently count “four”
- Take an inhale and exhale. At the end of your exhale silently count “five”
- Now do the same practice counting down from five to one
- Start over again with one
If you find yourself getting distracted, losing count or counting higher than five, just start over again with one.
If counting forward and back is too challenging, just count forward. If that is too much, try counting to two or three and then starting at one again. Once counting to five gets easier, start counting to ten and back again.
Remember: this isn’t about perfection it’s about practice and what you practice grows stronger.