by Claire N. Agard, PhD, CCTP
One aspect of living in a fast-paced world is that many often long for just a few moments of quietude. Unfortunately, those moments are elusive to a large swatch of the population. Rather, those would-be periods of tranquility are filled with thoughts of things they did, have to do, decisions to be made, and problems to be solved.
Below is a 3-minute mindfulness exercise that you can use to get you to that state of stillness if for a brief period. I suggest recording yourself as you read it in a calm, soft and steady voice. That way, you’ll merely turn on the recording when you’re ready to do the exercise.
Script for 3-minute mindfulness exercise:
Sit in chair with your feet planted on the floor. If you feel that you’ll be more comfortable sitting on the floor, then do so. Whatever position you choose, sit upright. Feel the length of your spine. Feel a sense of softness in your posture. Relax your arms and place them on your legs. It doesn’t matter how you place hands. It’s all right if you turn your palms up or down, whichever feels more comfortable to you. (Pause). Now, close your eyes.
Bring your attention to your breath as you breathe in deeply. In for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and let that breath out slowly. Out for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Pay attention to each breath as you continue to breathe, in deeply and out slowly. In for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and out for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. As you inhale, pay attention to your breath as it travels through your nose, down your throat, and into your lungs. Feel your lungs expanding. Now, breathe out. Keep paying attention to your breath as it leaves your lungs. Feel your lungs deflating. Follow your breath as it travels up your throat, through your nose and out of your mouth. Keep breathing in for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and out for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. In for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and out for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. (Pause).
If your mind wanders, as it inevitably will, bring it back to focus on your breath. All that’s important is your breath. With each breath imagine yourself at peace, feeling calm. You have no reason to be concerned about your breathing because you’re doing just fine. Your breaths are as they should be. They’re deep and full enough. Just notice the natural rhythm of your breath as you feel calm, relaxed, and at peace. In for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and out for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Keep focusing your breath as it travels in and down and out and up. (Pause).
Now, let go of any control of your breath. Just breath naturally. Let go of thoughts of the past and of the future. Just focus on each breath and on the calmness you feel. That’s all that matters; nothing else does. As you breathe in and out, think of a simple way to bring this feeling of calmness to your life whenever you please. (Pause). Now that you’ve done so, know and accept that you can create peace and calmness in your life in the days to come. Take a few more breaths and enjoy the feeling of relaxation and serenity. (Pause…).
(Softly) I now invite you to bring your attention back to the room as you breathe. Notice the sounds around you, and when you’re ready, slowly open your eyes. (Pause).
Good! how do you feel?