Notice the level of tension you are feeling. Then place one hand on your abdomen right beneath your ribcage.
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose into the “bottom” of your lungs. Your hand will rise if you are breathing from your abdomen. Your chest should move only slightly while your abdomen expands.
Pause for a minute and then exhale slowly through your nose or mouth. Make sure you exhale fully and allow your body to relax as you exhale.
Repeat for 10 slow, full, abdominal breaths. Try to keep your breathing smooth and regular, without gulping in a big breath, or letting your breath out all at once. To help slow your breathing down, count to four when you inhale and exhale. Then pause briefly at the end of each breath. If you start to feel light-headed at any time, stop for 15–20 seconds then start again.
Extend the exercise if you want to, by practising two or three “sets” of abdominal exercises.
Start by taking a couple of slow breaths. Focus on your breathing and let your muscles slowly relax. Breathe slowly and gently. Feel yourself beginning to relax.
Repeat the following steps for each muscle group throughout your body from head to toe:
A. Tighten the muscles.
B. Focus on the tension for 5 seconds.
C. Relax the muscles.
D. Focus on the feeling of relaxation for 20 seconds.
Check that all areas of your body are as relaxed as possible. You can re-do any of the exercises if you feel tension in any area.
When you have finished, take a minute to let yourself become more alert. Open your eyes, move your arms and legs around a little bit before you get up and start being active again.
Set your stopwatch for 60 seconds.
Focus all your attention on your breathing for the next 60 seconds. It’s just for one minute, but it can seem like a long time! Leave your eyes open and breathe normally.
Be ready to catch your mind from wandering off (because it will) and return your attention to your breathing whenever it does so.
Practise if you find this hard to do. It takes some people months or years before they are able to complete a single minute of alert, clear attention.
Repeat this exercise as many times as you can throughout the day to bring your mind to the present moment.