If you have a mind that bounces around like a flea, like me, you probably find it hard to settle your mind and be present without thinking about what you will do next, tomorrow or sometime next week.
Oftentimes this perpetual thinking causes us to worry, stress and fear things, as we allow ourselves to play out mental scenarios pertaining to situations and circumstances that most likely won't ever take place.
An overactive mind gets annoying. You become tired of spiralling thought processes when you just want to silence that inner voice for a while and rest your mind.
The technique I use to quickly cultivate a mindful state is to close my eyes and focus my attention on my breath. I allow all thoughts to rise and fall as they wish, without drawing my attention to them. I become my breath, following its pattern and travelling with it as it takes its natural course in and out of my body.
This very simple exercise allows me to draw my focus on one very compelling aspect of my existence; that my breath is the only thing that truly matters in this moment.
My breath is my life force, my defining line between life and death. This realisation never fails to bring me into the present, to be in the moment, to realise how insignificant my one breath is among all other living things, and to truly be content with just being here.
The first time you truly experience connecting with your breath can be quite a spiritual experience, because you start to feel like you are just a breath, just a pulse inside a shell (the body).
This breath is the only thing keeping you alive. It is your exit from the physical world and your entrance to a greater awareness and higher consciousness. This might sound a little “woo-woo”, but it's actually very liberating and comforting.
Connecting with your breath in this way is a practical, quick and easy way to feel temper an overactive mind. It's also a great way to cure a bad mood and any negative feelings you may be having.
Once you come around from this small meditation you will feel happier, more appreciative and more present. Give it a go today.
I cover this exercise, along with many others, in far greater detail in my book, Mindfulness Exercises. You can read more about the book here.