Have you tried to meditate and you just cannot empty your mind? The thoughts swirl around and around and you cannot seem to relax, in fact you envy those people who talk about the benefits of meditation that they practice every day?
The answer for you might be a counting meditation.
There are two counting meditations that I use regularly with my clients who struggle with relaxation meditations. The reason these meditations work is that they train you to empty your mind of all the things that you are worrying about by giving your mind something else to focus on. Essentially you trick your mind into emptying by focusing on your breath and on your counting.
The 28 Counting Meditation
28 is a highly spiritual number. If you would like to read more about the significance of the number 28 you can go here
To start a 28 counting meditation you need to do a Progressive Muscle Relaxation (hyperlink) you can do this either sitting up or lying down. Then when you feel as relaxed as you can you start to slowly count backwards from 28. Every time you sense a thought coming into your head you stop counting down and resume again at 28. The aim of this meditation is not to get to zero, although some people do manage it. The aim of the meditation is to empty your mind. I have found that clients who struggle at first to get past 25, with practice are able to count further and further backwards and free their mind of their worries more and more.
This exercise is particularly effective if you struggle to sleep because eventually, just like counting sheep, you will fall asleep counting.
4 – 7 – 8 Breathing
This is a relaxation technique that was developed by Dr Raymond Weil. He developed this technique from yogic breathing. It is a really simple technique where you slowly breathe in for 4 counts hold for 7 counts and then slowly release your breath for 8 counts. It is recommended that you repeat this technique for 4 repetitions slowly building to 8 repetitions.
Here is a link where Dr Weil demonstrates this technique.
I teach this technique because as Dr Weil explains, it take you into instant relaxation and calms the nervous system super quickly. If you find your self triggered by any life situation it is such a portable relaxation technique – all you need is a quiet corner.
I hope these techniques are useful to you. These relaxations can become part of your daily meditation routine and also as part of stress management. So simple and so powerful.
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