Welcome to Wildflower's 10-Day Mindfulness Challenge! Our team has made a commitment to completing at least one mindfulness exercise per day over the next ten days and sharing our experiences in the comments section of this blog. We invite our colleagues, clients and friends to join us in this endeavor! Every day you will see a new post that introduces a particular mindfulness exercise. Feel free to engage in the suggested practice, or complete your own and contribute to the conversation in the comments section.
To learn more about mindfulness, you can read one of our articles here.
Mindfulness exercise: Follow your breath
Focusing on the breath is a foundational mindfulness practice and a powerful means of anchoring ourselves in the here and now. Your breath is always with you, wherever you are. Many of us take the breath for granted, barely noticing it as we go about our everyday lives. Its life-sustaining force, not to mention the power to influence our mood and thoughts, may not be acknowledged unless we are perhaps having a panic attack or otherwise experiencing difficulty breathing. In this exercise, we will cultivate a gentle sense of curiosity about each in-breath and out-breath, without trying to control our breathing in any way. We will simply pay attention to the experience itself, notice when we become distracted or caught up in thoughts, and bring the attention back to breathing. You may find that you are having to return attention to your breath several times during this exercise. Make an effort to practice for at least 3-5 minutes. It may be helpful to set a timer.
Begin by sitting down on a chair, floor or wherever you can be comfortable while maintaining an erect and dignified posture. Place your feet on the floor; make sure your legs are uncrossed. Gently close your eyes. Start by focusing your attention on breathing in. As you breathe in, say quietly in your mind the word "inhale" and as you breathe out, say "exhale." Repeat again and again, noticing the rising and falling of your chest, the air coming in and out of your nostrils, the sensation of air traveling through your body and making its way into your lungs and out again, the pause in between. If your mind wanders, as it naturally will, gently and without any judgment bring it back to your breath and to the words “inhale” and “exhale.”
We would love to hear about your experience with this exercise or any other mindfulness exercise you have chosen to practice today!
Wishing you a day full of wonder,
- The Power of Breath: article written by Katie Hibey, LCPC
- Six Mindful Practices that Can Reduce Stress During Your Workday: article written by Erin Wheeler, LCSW