Do you feel like your mind is so full of chatter that you can’t focus on your tasks? Perhaps your student has the same issue with an assignment? Try this breathing exercise to anchor your mind to your body so you can focus on the present moment.
Breath as an Anchor
Close your eyes and imagine the waves of an ocean. Picture these waves as your thoughts and emotions. They may be gentle waves or harsh and rocky. Now picture yourself as a sailboat floating along on these thoughts and emotions. This is how you may feel your life is like when you’re lost in thoughts of the future or the past. You may feel out of control or pulled in different directions. Often times, if you’re worrying it’s because you’re lost in the future, and if you’re sad it’s because you’re lost in the past. Instead of floating along in whichever direction your thoughts take you, imagine your breath as an anchor to connect you to this moment in time right now. The anchor is keeping you in place as the waves pass by. Take a slow deep breath in through your nose. Picture the air filling your lungs and feeling the sensations in your nostrils and chest. Pause and feel the fullness. Become aware of all of your senses. Then, slowly breathe out feeling the sensations of your lungs emptying and releasing any tension in your body. Continue to focus on your breath. Become aware of any thoughts that may be trying to pull you away from the present moment as you breathe in and out. Notice the thoughts for what they are, but continue to gently and kindly bring yourself back to the here and now by returning to your anchor, your breath.
You can use your breath to reconnect your mind to your body at any time. A suggestion for students is to try using your breath as an anchor while you’re in class and notice yourself feeling distracted, while you’re completing your homework, while you’re enjoying your lunch, or while you’re having a conversation with your parents. What do you notice from practicing this exercise in your daily life? The results may surprise you.