Five simple steps - Restful being exercise
Five simple steps to feel better right now
Think of this exercise as your emergency panic button. By observing the breath and taking a step back from your thoughts, you will feel less involved in those thoughts and less overwhelmed by the worry you attach to them.
You can either sit or lie down for this practice. Either way, encourage your spine to be long, your belly to be soft and your shoulders to hang loose. Soften your jaw and close your eyes:
Count your exhalations down from 10 to 0. Every time you count, try to make the out-breath a little longer. By the time you get to 0, your exhalation should be around twice as long as your inhalation (but don’t worry if it isn’t).
Now, just watch the breath for a moment (around five rounds of inhaling and exhaling, slowly). After a short while, at the end of the exhalation, see if you can notice your heartbeat or a pulse: as you breathe, say to yourself: inhale, exhale, heartbeat. Continue for around ten breaths (you don’t have to be precise).
Now, let go of the labels and the technique, and just sit for a few moments. You might be more aware of your heartbeat/pulse and of the pause at the end of the exhalation before the next breath falls in (don’t worry if this isn’t the case for you).
If you’re still having worrying thoughts, don’t fight them. Give them full permission to be there, but see if you can turn your attention from the thought and instead towards the awareness that is noticing the thought (to help with this, literally picture yourself watching over the thought – you can imagine the thought as a cloud, a bird passing through the sky, or even as a car on a country road gliding past).
Remain still with this attitude of allowing everything to be just as it is for as long as time allows. If you find you’re getting caught up in thoughts then return to point 1. and start the count down from 10 again.
When you’re ready to come out of this practice, take a few deep breaths, stretch, and open your eyes.