5 minute visualisation to promote balance in the mind

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We can all let anxiety and stress get the better of us, especially in this fast-paced era with ten different places to get notified of an incoming message, or a to-do list that seems to keep growing (no matter how many things we tick off of it). When it's practically impossible to physically take yourself off somewhere to a place of calm (either a holiday or an escape to the countryside), we need other techniques to manage the anxiety and, over time, begin to raise our baseline resilience to feeling anxious. A 5-minute visualisation meditation is one tool to try.

What You'll Need

  • A willingness to give it a go

What You'll Do

  • Find a place where you won't be disturbed - preferably a quiet place, but this is not actually essential (and very difficult in the city!).
  • Sit comfortably, either in a chair with feet flat on the floor and shoulders relaxed with hands resting in the lap, or cross legged sitting upright on the floor (you can sit on the edge of a big book to make sure you can sit tall through the lower back).
  • With your eyes open, become aware of your surroundings as you begin to deepen the breath - filling the lungs and diaphragm on an inhale through the nose, and expelling all the air slowly on an exhale through the mouth.
  • Breathe like this 3 or 4 times, then close the mouth on the exhales, so you are only breathing through the nose.
  • Close the eyes now, and begin to focus on the deep inhales and deep exhales - trying to count to 3 on each one, so the breath becomes slower and the inahles and exhales are balanced (taking the same amount of time).
  • Focus on this balanced breathing, visualising the white light of energy/life force/prana entering purposefully through the nose, down the throat, into the lungs and side ribs, and into the tummy.
  • Pause at the top, and then as you initiate the exhale, visualise the air being slowly (with control and not all at once) begin to leave your tummy and rise up through the lungs, throat and out through the nose.
  • Pause at the bottom (at the end of the exhale) before you initiate the inhale again.
  • Repeat this deep breathing pattern, really tuning in to balancing the inhales and exhales, with momentary pauses in between.
  • You can help concentrate by counting 1 to 10 as you complete each round of inhale and exhale, then starting at 1 again when you finish. (Also start at 1 again if you lose count at any time).
  • After 4 or 5 minutes of this deep, relaxed but conscious breathing pattern, begin to let the breath go, listen and soak in the sounds around you and slowly open the eyes.
  • Appreciate the stillness you created for yourself, and the space you allowed in the mind as you focused only on controlled, balanced breathing, filling your body with energy and calm.

Tips & Warnings

  • The first few times you try this, it may be impossible and you can't stop thinking about checking your phone, or opening your eyes, or feeling annoyed about that loud siren that just went pass or someone shouting. With practice, you will notice you can start to disregard these external disturbances, and also lengthen the amount of time you sit in stillness. Don't worry about losing your breath counting, or feeling annoyed about loud noises that 'disturb' you. Notice those feelings - it's all part of being more mindful, and that's already a good start to this practice.
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