Friday, April 3, 2020

20 Mindful Writing Breaths for Calm During COVID-19

I'm finding mindful writing to be an incredible practice each morning during the COVID pandemic. I'm grateful for the oasis of focus and calm it is providing me and would like to share one of my grounding techniques.

20 Breaths

Preparing to Write:

Find a quiet location and draw your mind to the point at which air enters and exits your nose. (Don’t listen to music.) Put aside your other thoughts: redirect your attention to your breathing for at least a minute before starting to write this exercise.

Next, breathing in, think “here.” Breathing out, think “now.” Repeat for a minute. If you find your mind wandering, it’s no big deal. Just gently guide your thoughts back to breathing.

Describe what a single breath feels like physically. Watching the inhalation, notice the breathing-in as a brand-new event—as though it has never happened to you before. Watching the exhalation, notice the breathing-out as a brand-new event—as though it has never happened to you before.

Stop for a moment. Number this breath: Breath 1.

Write 3-4 phrases or 1-2 sentences about Breath 1.

For instance, you could try answering a few of these questions: Where did you feel the breath in your body? With what did the breath make contact? What moved or changed in your body because of the single breath? How long did the breath seem to last? What was the temperature of the breath? 

To head in a more poetic direction, if the breath possessed a shape, what shape would it have? If the breath was an object, what kind of object might it be? If the breath came in a color, what color or colors? If the breath was a single word or phrase, what would that be?

Repeat until you’ve described twenty breaths.

The purpose of this exercise is to use writing to retrain the mind to pay attention to the present. For the times we're all living in right now, watching our breathing through writing can ground us and lead to a calm outlook. Ultimately, this will help you pay attention to the present while you write, which will carry all sorts of benefits in terms of your outlook about writing and the ideas you reach.

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