Meditation is an especially powerful Mindfulness technique; it includes any time we focus our attention intentionally and with purpose. Each time we practice directing our attention in this manner, we increase our ability to create new neural pathways in the brain and to interrupt habitual thought patterns that are unwanted or intrusive by refocusing on our experience in the present.
Sometimes this type of focus can feel difficult, especially when we have a lot on our minds. Don’t get discouraged if you struggle to maintain your focus for lengthy periods of time, especially if you are just starting to explore mindful practices. Remember, it’s natural for the mind to wander, which is why a key part of Mindfulness and grounding is learning to redirect your attention back to the present, gently and without judgment.
Today we will try a simple meditation that centers around whatever anchor you choose.
If your mind wanders during this meditation, respond by gently guiding your attention back to your anchor with curiosity and self-compassion. As you do, you are strengthening the communication between the different parts of your brain by teaching your mind how to respond to your direction.
Think of your breath as an anchor that holds you to the present. Your breathing serves you right now, in this moment. You cannot take breaths for the past or for the future—only for your present needs.
So let’s begin.
Repeat this for 2–5 minutes, or if you are using the exercise to help manage a trigger, repeat these steps as many times as necessary to feel grounded in the present moment. You may also choose to place both hands over your heart as you envision it expanding and contracting. As your heartbeats slow, your breathing will get deeper, continuing to calm you.