This mindfulness exercise shows you how your mind and body work together to influence how you feel and how you can gain CONTROL .
Sit in a chair, leaning as far forward as you can, holding on to the arms.
What do you experience?
Does the blood rush to your head?
Can you feel yourself gripping?
Are you afraid of toppling over?
Now lean back as far as you can, hinging from the waist.
What do you experience now?
Do you feel like you could be pushed over?
Is it a strain to hold that position?
Now, finally, come to rest in a neutral position. Sitting in the chair with the chair fully supporting your weight, imagine a golden string attached to the top of your head which goes up to the ceiling and beyond. The golden string holds your head in a relaxed, balanced position, gently floating above your neck. Cup your hands with palms facing up, and place them in your lap as you lower your eyes. If you are comfortable, you can close them gently. Begin to breathe with awareness, noticing the air coming in through your nostrils, tickling the tiny hairs inside your nose and traveling deep into your lungs to be exhaled through parted lips.
Be aware of how you feel in the moment. Do your thoughts run like a wild horse, untamed and galloping away? If so, don't worry. That's natural. Our brains are like that. However, thoughts can be trained, really. Take hold of the reins and stay on the horse. In mindfulness training, we learn to accept all thoughts as just that, thoughts. We might say to ourselves "thinking," then bring our attention back to our breathing. It's that simple in instruction, but it takes time to train our minds to calm down.
Practice mindfulness every day.
Be aware of your thoughts in the moment. Just like the exercise above- take hold of the reins. Stop the horse to be present and enjoy a pleasant moment. Guide the horse to a peaceful place if you are having difficult or negative thoughts. Remember you are in control and can guide your horse to where you would like to go.
Author: Jan Fite, PhD. Clinical Psychologist, Univesity of Washington