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  • Catherine Nasskau

Quick tips to start the day

Updated: Jun 17, 2021

Dealing with intrusive thoughts, mindful breathing sunrise
Mindful breathing to help with intrusive thoughts

Quick Tips for Moments of Calm

When we wake up....

The idea behind this quick practice is to connect with your body when you wake up, rather than get lost in your thoughts and emotions before you're even out of bed!

It gives us a mental break and allows us to ground ourselves before we start our day.

* Mindful breathing: watch three breaths with curiosity, notice the sensations in your body.

* Notice textures of your bedding. Sensations of your head against the pillow? What can you feel against your feet?

* Take three more breaths, feeling the changing sensations as you breathe.

Maybe take a few slightly longer, deeper breaths.

And see if you can continue with this physical awareness as you proceed with your day.

If you would rather listen to a guided mindfulness meditation than read instructions, we have a collection of recorded guided meditations for stress, anxiety and depression that you might find helpful. These include 5-minute meditations and others lasting between 10 and 30 minutes.

More tips - other breathing exercises

We explored different breathing activities in our weekly drop-in session today.

'Nostril breathing' is something I first discovered doing Yoga. I find it very calming, and it was very helpful once when I was in physical pain.

How to do it:

You place one hand near your nose, with your thumb and fourth finger close to the nostril, and second and third fingers resting on the bridge of your nose.

* Close your right nostril with your thumb; breathe in though your left nostril.

* Close your left nostril with your fourth finger and move your thumb away; breath out through your right nostril.

* Breathe in through your right nostril.

* Close right nostril with thumb, move fourth finger away; breath out through left nostril.

And keep doing this for a while, focusing on physical sensations as you breathe, allowing thoughts and feelings to be in the background.

MBSR mindfulness course review Mindful Surrey
MBSR course review

'Colour breathing'

This is also something I enjoy and involves our imagination. It is basically when you imagine breathing in a colour, and then breathing out a colour. These can be the same colours or different ones.

I once discovered a chart showing what emotions or states of mind each colour apparently represents, but I just do it with whatever colour I like! A light yellow or blue helps me feel calm. I'm not trying to change how I'm feeling, but rather sending myself a soothing, friendly awareness that I can visualise by giving it a colour.

Breathing out a colour that feels like tension can be interesting, although it does not really fit with mindfulness approach if you do this in order to try and get rid of something.

Today in our drop-in session we experimented with breathing in a colour that fitted any unpleasant emotions we might be feeling. This was more aligned with the idea that we lean towards the unpleasant, explore it with kind curiosity.

I find the best approach with colour breathing is to bring a playfulness and sense of experimentation.

And when we want to get to sleep...

Focusing on our breath and sensations in the body can also be helpful for when we wake in the night and cannot go back to sleep. You might like to try our new ten minute meditation for sleep. Longer sleep meditations to come!

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