Editor's Note: I am reposting this piece shared by The Mighty through its #52SmallThings Challenge newsletter because I feel mindfulness, meditation, and self-care are important for all. I especially needed this nudge on meditation because my life is just so jam packed with work, life, medical issues, and other 'busy-ness.' All the while I am compounding it with negative and angry thoughts, which ramps up my anxiety, and wreaks havoc on my ability to control my behavioral impulses. Does this sound like you? Well, if it does it means that you need to spend some time breathing while letting those negative, angry thoughts float by like clouds as Sofia Borodulina describes below. I hope you find this #52WeekChallenge as helpful (and timely) as I know I will. P.S. Be sure to watch the video at the bottom for some added help.
My name is Sofia Borodulina. I’m a mindfulness teacher and I’m delighted to be your self-care host this week.
Did you know we think up to 60,000 thoughts a day — 80 percent of which are negative? These thoughts affect not only our joy and happiness, but also our physical well-being. However, the biggest issue is that most of the time we are not even aware of them. And you can’t change something you are not aware of, right?
Mindfulness teaches us to train our “awareness” muscle so that we can spot a thought the moment it arises. If it is a thought that doesn’t serve us, we can simply let go of it instead of getting lost in it.
The ability to flex this awareness muscle on demand is attributed to creating long-lasting improvements in our lives: better sleep, less anxiety, better stress management, less rumination, a healthier emotional reactivity, resilience and the list goes on and on.
Meditation is basically a gym for the brain and there are a plethora of ways to meditate. But for the sake of simplicity (life doesn’t always need to be complicated), we will learn the most basic form — breathing.
That’s why this week’s Small Thing is: Meditation.
For this week’s challenge, we’re asking you to spend five minutes each day focusing on your breath.
1. Find a calm place where you won’t be disturbed.
2. Sit down on a chair and find a comfortable position, keep your feet firm on the floor, bring your shoulders to the back and keep your spine straight. You can close your eyes or leave them slightly open — be sure you relax your jaw.
3. Take a deep breath in and out and then simply breathe (don’t force anything, juuuust breathe).
4. Use your breath as your focus of attention. Thoughts will come up. As soon as you notice them, don’t judge them. Simply let the thought pass by — like a cloud — and come back to focusing on your breath.
5. Repeat, repeat, repeat until your meditation time is over.