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Meditative Breathing: More Than You Think
Meditative Breathing is a simple yet deceptively powerful technique that can be used for relaxation. When practiced on a daily basis, it will also change your relationship with your thoughts. This can aid in emotional regulation by helping you "see" the true nature of your thinking mind, which is: Your mind has a mind of its own and not all your thoughts are helpful or even true. In addition, as you meditate and become distracted by thoughts, you will practice letting go of them, which will also help with emotional regulation. After all, it is frequently the inability to let go of certain patterns of thinking that fuels anxiety, depression, and anger.
How to Practice Meditative Breathing
That's it! That's Meditative Breathing. Practice it for 15 minutes, once or twice a day, and see the benefits accrue over time. You can not do Meditative Breathing wrong if you do it. Thoughts of "I am doing this wrong" or "This is not working" are simply more distracting thoughts to let go of as you meditate.
To learn more about Meditative Breathing, refer to the book Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, an excellent resource on mindfulness and meditation.
Below is Carl's 7-minute YouTube video describing the surprising benefits of mindfulness meditation.
Therapists frequently say to clients, "You have to let go of it." But what does that mean? How do you let go of something? The daily practice of Meditative Breathing teaches you how to let go. In the course of each meditation, you will be distracted by many thoughts, some of which are quite compelling. In fact, some will scream at you, "Stop meditating and pay attention to me - I'm really, really important!" Each time you resist getting sucked into a thought, you are practicing letting go.
While meditating, you practice letting go of all thoughts, one by one, as they arise. In short, you are exercising the "muscles" that allow you to let go. In the real world, however, some thoughts are helpful while others are not. Having the ability to let go of unhelpful thoughts, or what I call "stinking thinking," is an important aspect of emotional regulation and good mental health. For related topics, see mindfulness, stress management, spam of the mind, and taming the mind.
If you would like help in learning emotional regulation through mindfulness and meditation, click on the picture below to see if online therapy might be right for you.
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All Text and most photos by Carl Benedict
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