Step 1: becoming aware
Deliberately adopt an erect and dignified posture, whether sitting or standing. If possible, close your eyes. Then, bring your awareness to your inner experience and acknowledge it, asking what is my experience right now?
• What thoughts are going through the mind? As best you can, acknowledge thoughts as mental events.
• What feelings are here? Turn towards and sense of discomfort or unpleasant feelings, acknowledge them without trying to make them different from how you find them.
• What body sensations are here right now? Perhaps quickly scan the body to pick up any sensations of tightness or bracing, acknowledging the sensations, but once again, not trying to change them in any way.
Step 2: gathering and focusing attention
Now, redirecting the attention to a narrow “spotlight” on the physical sensations of the breath, move in close to the physical sensations of the breath, move in close to the physical sensations of the breath in the abdomen…. 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. Use each breath as an opportunity to anchor yourself into the present. And if the mind wanders, gently escort the attention back to the breath.
Step 3: expanding attention
Now, expand the field of awareness around the breathing so that it includes a sense of the body as a whole, your posture and facial expression, as if the whole body was breathing. If you become aware of any sensations of discomfort or tension, feel free to bring your focus of attention right in to the intensity imagining that the breath could move into and around the sensations. In this, you are helping to explore the sensations, befriending them, rather than trying to change them in any way. If they stop pulling for your attention, return to sitting, aware of the whole body, moment by moment.
Try this exercise once a day and see how you can slowly start to feel more relaxed and aware of your own physical and mental well-being.