Teasdale, Williams, and Segal suggest planning out a specific time during your day to practice the breathing space, such as when you first rise from bed, your lunch break, or during some quiet time after dinner. Planning out a time makes it less likely for you to feel as if you do not have time to create this breathing space.
Three-Minute Breathing Space
Preparation: Begin by deliberately adopting an erect and dignified posture, whether you are sitting or standing. If possible, close your eyes. Then take about 1 minute to guide yourself through each of the following steps.
Step 1: Becoming Aware: Bringing your awareness to your inner experience, ask: What is my experience right now?
- What thoughts are going through your mind? As best you can, acknowledge thoughts as mental events, perhaps putting them into words.
- What feelings are here? Turn toward any sense of emotional discomfort or unpleasant feelings, acknowledging their presence.
- What body sensations are here right now? Perhaps quickly scan your body to pick up any sensations of tightness or bracing.
Step 2: Gathering: Now redirect your attention to focus on the physical sensations of the breath breathing itself. Move in close to the sense of the breath in the abdomen… feeling the sensations of the abdominal wall expanding as the breath comes in… and falling back as the breath goes out. Follow the breath all the way in and all the way out, using the breathing to anchor yourself in the present. If your mind wanders away at any time, gently escort it back to the breath.
Step 3: Expanding: Now expand the field of your awareness around your breathing so that it includes a sense of the body as a whole, your posture, and facial expression. If you become aware of any sensations of discomfort, tension, or resistance, take your awareness there by breathing into them on the inbreath. Then breathe out from those sensations, softening and opening with the outbreath. As best you can, bring this expanded awareness to the next moments of your day.
The breathing space is the best way to step out of automatic pilot and reconnect with the
present moment. This breathing space is meant to bring you out of your buzzing head and into your body so that you can feel the relaxation that comes with following your breath. It can be utilized at any time throughout the day, and is a great calming tool!
Take a deep breath, and stay healthy, Chaps!
--Kirsten Dalquist, MSSW Intern