Taming the Wild Mind: A Calming Practice
Imagination is a beautiful thing. We use our imaginations to dream up future events. We envision where we’ll go, with whom, and when. We use the imagination to entertain us—to paint captivating images in our minds. We can picture ourselves in our favorite vacation settings, smelling the fresh air, and feeling a refreshing breeze as the sunset melts while painting the sky in hues of pinks and tangerine. The imagination offers us the gift of creating ideas for what we want.
THE (UNTAMED) POWER OF THE IMAGINATION
But just as powerfully, the imagination can be used (or hijacked) to create in our minds what we don’t want. When we worry, stress, and feel anxious we’re usually not responding to the present—to reality. More often than not, worry, stress, and anxiety result from using our imaginations the wrong way. Our imaginations can catapult us into a future that simply doesn’t exist. When we exit the present we either drift into the past or enter the future. Neither of which is reality. All that is real is the present. Reality exists in the here and now. Anytime we’re anxious we’re in the future. And that future can be littered with thoughts and images of a misguided imagination running wild.
RETURNING TO THE PRESENT
To reduce anxiety and regain positive use of our imagination we need to return to the present. When we’re grounded in the present moment we feel more centered and calm. Now you may be wondering, “How do I become present?” The breath is a timeless tool that seamlessly connects us with the here and now. This is because breathing is an activity that must be done at the moment. For example, I can’t hurry up and breathe more today so that I don’t have to breathe tomorrow. Nor can I skip breathing today because I did plenty of that yesterday. Breathing must be done in the moment.
If you’d like to reduce anxiety and center yourself in the present moment you can try this breathing practice. Let this practice soothe you. Keep it simple. There are no rules. There’s no doing this wrong. Trust yourself. Just breathe...
- Sit or lie down so you’re comfortable.
- Close your eyes.
- Notice that you’re breathing.
- Take a slow deep breath in. And a slow, full breath out.
- Repeat three deep breaths just like that.
Good, now we start to guide the breath:
- Inhale through your nose for the count of 4,3,2,1.
- Hold your breath for the count of 4,3,2,1.
- Through the nose, exhale all the breath 4,3,2,1.
-Repeat this three times.
To close, state for yourself a soothing affirmation, “I am calm. I am present.” Very good. This practice can be done morning and night and repeated as frequently as you wish throughout the day. The more we visit and live in the present moment the calmer we feel.
Kristen Riordan (Schneider) is an Ayurveda practitioner, mental health counselor, 500RYT, author, and brand new mama! Kristen is passionate about self-compassion, and the practice of gratitude. She loves reading, the beach, and silly dad jokes. Her books, Your Life is Medicine: Ayurveda for Yogis and Love Fearlessly: The Soulmate Within are available at WellBlends.com and on Amazon. She lives in St Petersburg, Florida with her husband and daughter, Harper.
If you enjoyed this blog, check out our other blogs like: "The Power of Affirmations," "5 Tips to Help your Mind from Wandering During Meditation," "Way Out of our Comfort Zone", "Resources for Your Well-Being"