“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
Since discovering mindfulness back in 2013, I’ve experienced many of the benefits it has to offer. These include more peace of mind, increased self-awareness, and a greater ability to connect with others.
Despite these benefits, however, consistently practicing mindfulness remains a challenge for me. Even when meditation is a daily habit, I have a hard time remembering to stay mindful throughout the day.
In order to make practicing mindfulness as simple as possible this year, I’m going to focus on one specific “mindfulness method” each month. These methods will simply be different ways of bringing my attention to the present moment.
My method for January is abdominal breathing.
What is Abdominal Breathing?
Breathing deeply into the abdominals, or lower stomach area.
Why Abdominal Breathing?
Concentrating on the breath is a core component in most mindfulness and meditation practices. I first discovered the presence-bringing power of observing my breath after reading “The Power of Now.” Since then, it has been the mindfulness method that I come back to the most.
However, there is a difference between abdominal breathing and just paying attention to your breath; abdominal breathing is more intentional. It’s not just observing, but consciously directing the breath. I chose this more intentional method because of the benefits it offers outside of mindfulness.
I actually stumbled upon it a couple of months ago while searching for ways to reduce stress and anxiety. A few sources recommended abdominal breathing because of it’s calming effect on the mind and body. I tested it out for a couple of days and was quickly sold on it. It wasn’t a cure-all, but I did notice a greater sense of calm after breathing deeply into my abdomen for even a few seconds.
My Progress So Far…
As of writing this, I’ve been trying to consistently use this method for four days. So far it has still been a struggle to remain mindful, but that might be because my holiday travels have left me feeling a little more frazzled than usual. However, it has been nice having a single focus to come back to when I find myself getting caught up in my thoughts.
I’ll probably post an update in a week or two. It could be interesting to see what my practice looks like once I’m in a more consistent routine.