2.2 (B) Four Easy Exercises
So, if you are someone who has issues getting to sleep at night, or are looking to find relaxation a couple of times during the day, these exercises may work well for you.
Counting.. (can help get you to sleep at night, or to alleviate thoughts)
It really doesn’t matter what you count up to, but just be sure to say the numbers out loud (at least at first to distract your mind into this concept), and very slowly. By talking out loud, you can alleviate more thoughts coming in. It may be helpful to close your eyes and picture each number in your head, and breathe that extended breath to further support this. Be sure to breathe nice and slowly, to be sure you are getting ample oxygen into the body.
Listen to soothing music… (excellent for relaxing the body for sleep, or as anxiety starts to build)
There is nothing more soothing to the mind than some soft instrumental music to focus on. Keeping the music readily available on your phone, is a great way to quickly find the tunes you are looking for, when you start to feel stressed. Find a nice, quiet place and just focus in on the music, and how it makes you feel as you slowly breathe in. As you exhale, lengthen out that exhale longer than the inhale, to tap into the relaxation receptors in your nervous system.
Singing / play an instrument… (helpful as tension builds during the day)
When we sing and /or play an instrument, we are not only focusing in on what we need to do, but we are breathing, which is very important. If you have access to your instrument, or you are in a place you can belt out a good POSITIVE, FEEL GOOD song, (nothing depressing), this may be helpful for you.
Balancing... (helpful during the day, or a "before bed" practice)
I use balancing poses in my classes as a wonderful way to explain how focus can work for you. When we are balancing on one leg, the brain NEEDS to focus on the task at hand, otherwise the body may fall over. You will notice that when you are balancing, no additional thoughts can come in, basically because the brain can't "create thoughts" while concentrating so intently at the same time. I use low tree pose with my students against a wall or holding onto a chair for support.
Focusing brings us directly into the present moment and directs our attention on something...right now. It keeps our mind busy with something to do, so we don’t have time to think about anything else. As I stated earlier, when the mind is completely focused on one thing, and one thing alone, additional thoughts won’t have the opportunity to come through. (See videos in next section)