Updated: May 11, 2020
This is the second article in a series on caring for your mental health and well-being. When practised regularly they will help you to avoid anxiety and promote good mental health.
How to do it
Sit in a chair and close your eyes.
Now each time you exhale I want you to silently count.
Start at 1 and count up to the next number with each exhalation until you reach 5.
When you get to 5 start back at 1 again, only go to 5 and then repeat. Easy peazy.
Do this for a few minutes each day, at a time that suits you, morning is often good. Try to build this into your daily life. You can set an alarm for 3 minutes and gradually work up to longer periods.
The hard bit
The hard bit is focusing only on counting because you don’t want to go above 5. There will be many times that you suddenly realise you have gone above 5. When this happens just start again. Counting up with each exhalation from 1 to 5. It takes practice to focus on what you’re doing. The aim is to focus on just one thing - counting up to 5, then repeating it.
A good analogy to use when considering how Focused Forgetfulness affects for your mind is one of a glass jar filled with water and sand, when it is shaken all the particles swirl round together in a cloudy and erratic way. This is how our mind is when it is busy, stressed or on a normal day for lots of people. Now imagine the jar has been left to rest for a while. After this resting time you would be able to see a less stormy picture, the sand at the bottom and the water at the top. Completely still, calm and clear. After doing Focused Forgetfulness your mind will now be like the resting jar: still, calm and clear.
Many people would call this meditation, but I call it Focused Forgetfulness. So, it means if you thought you couldn’t meditate, then by doing this, you’re doing it! The word meditation can feel like something other people do or difficult to get the hang of. But if you practice Focused Forgetfulness for a few minutes a day you are allowing your mind to gain the same benefits of meditation. This is a great technique for children to learn too and during lockdown most of us have extra time. So why not start today?
By focusing your mind on one thing, your mind temporarily forgets everything else going on around you. The swirling sand in your mind is able to fall to the bottom of the glass. This is a great skill to have in life and there many benefits to doing this.
1. Reduce stress
2. Controls anxiety
3. Promotes emotional health
4. Enhances self awareness
5. Lengthens attention span
6. May reduce age related memory loss
7. Can generate kindness
8. May help fight addictions
9. Improve sleep
10. Helps control pain
11. Can decrease blood pressure
12. You can meditate anywhere
For details of these 12 points click here to the Healthline article https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation
Here are some links to free resources for different ideas and styles.
P.S. If you lie down while doing this you will probably fall asleep. Which makes this technique great for helping you get to sleep.