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In Stress and Coping

Breath-Counting Meditation for YOU

Let us talk about meditation. Actually, as soon as we hear this word we imagine a sitting person in a specific pose with closed eyes and circled index finger and a thumb. Definitely, this is an intentional practice of focusing. Focusing on what? On ONE thing at a time. It is important to understand that the heart of meditation lies not simply on focusing on one object to the exclusion of all other thoughts, but rather in the attempt to focus the attention on one thing. The nature of our mind is such that it does not want to stay focused or concentrated. A myriad of thoughts interfere with meditation. Each time when a meditating person catches himself/herself on the idea that his/her mind has drifted to other thoughts, he/she chooses instead to dwell on the original object of the attention. Many mediating people find that a convenient and relaxing point of focus is their breathing.

For centuries, meditation has been successfully used in the treatment and prevention of high blood pressure, heart diseases, migraines and other physical conditions. In recent years, meditation has been proven to be a prominent tool in curtailing obsessive thinking, anxiety, depression, and hostility.

If you decided to participate in meditation, here is a Breath-Counting Meditation.

  1. Find your posture and centre yourself. Take several deep breaths. Close your eyes.
  2. Take deep but not forced belly breaths. As you do, focus your attention on each segment of your breath: the inhale, the moment when you stop inhaling and ready to exhale, the exhale, the pause between inhale and exhale, the moment when you start inhaling, the inhale and so forth. Notice your sensations in your body as you pause between breaths.
  3. As you exhale, count ONE. Continue counting each exhale: TWO… THREE… FOUR… Then begin again with ONE. If you lose counting, simply start over.
  4. When you discover that your mind has slipped into thought, note this, then gently return to the counting of your breath.
  5. If a particular sensation in your body catches your attention, focus on the sensation until it recedes. Then return your attention to the inhale and the exhale and the counting of your breath.

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