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Simple Steps to a Calm Mind

Rushing through our day-to-day lives, juggling work, family, and errands can be hectic, chaotic, stressful and constantly busy. It can feel hard to stop your mind at the end of the day. This mental exhaustion can have impacts on our concentration, memory, focus and even sleep. Taking a few moments each day to calm the mind and just breathe, can have incredible benefits. One popular strategy for calming the mind is through meditation or mindfulness.

Mindfulness is described as a mental state in which a person is highly present and aware of their own body, mind, thoughts, and surroundings. We are often not fully aware of how we may feel in a given moment or what specific thoughts are present in our minds. We are usually on autopilot. By increasing awareness of one’s physical and mental experience, this can assist in building appreciation for various aspects of life as well as gain better emotional control, focus, and even help to create more concentration, empathy, and lower stress.

Many people feel intimidated by the idea of starting a mindfulness practice. One simple way to begin is to simply focus on breathing. The act of focusing on your breath can slow you down, help you to maintain focus, and stay in the present moment.

Simple Breathing Exercise:

  1. Pause & take a moment to just breathe.

  2. Sit or lay down and get comfortable.

  3. Close your eyes or leave them at half gaze.

  4. Breathe in slowly and deeply while counting to 5 in your mind.

  5. Pause with your breath for a small count of 5.

  6. Exhale completely while counting to 5.

  7. Continue this 5 - 5 - 5 pattern for several minutes while breathing in deeply, pausing, exhaling, and repeating.

  8. Practice daily! 

Now that you’ve read through the instructions, practice and try this exercise on your own. Remember, breathe in while counting to 5, hold your breath for 5, and then exhale while counting to 5. Simple, yet calming.

Try this exercise for a few minutes each day for one week and see how you feel. Maintaining a regular practice can have many benefits, including lowering stress, increasing mental focus and attention, less emotional reactivity, more cognitive flexibility, improving connections with others, and being more in tune with your mind and body.

For a more in-depth guided mindfulness exercise, see our free beginner’s guide on Mindfulness

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Blog written by: Dr. Shelley Sommerfeldt, Clinical Psychologist, Relationship Coach & Founder of the Loving Roots Project, an online wellness practice specializing in personal growth, mental wellness, & relationship betterment.

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