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Let go of your strain and worry with these easy meditation exercises

Do you ever feel so stressed or anxious you find it hard to focus? Do you get distracted by worry? 

Meditation can physically break the connections in your brain that make you reactive and fearful. I discovered meditation in my twenties, when I was trying to deal with my own anxiety and stress. Once I could sit still long enough to focus on my breath without wanting to jump out of my skin, I was hooked. I could see the results right away. An inner calm. A quietude.

Even though most of my stress came rushing back when I opened my eyes, I got a breather. A little vacation for my mind when I needed it the most!

Science is proving to us how good meditation is for focus, productivity, and even state of mind.  As I continued in my practice, I found more peace, more focus, a greater sense of flow. Not bad for sitting still and breathing!

Try these brief exercises to get into your own focus and flow. You can even do them at your desk, which is where I often meditate.

–Take a deep, deep breath, so that your belly and top of lungs expands. Hold it for a split second, and then release it in a swish of air, like a balloon bursting.  Don’t force it out, just let it go out naturally and quickly. This is actually how my puppy relaxes. It’s amazing how quickly it can relax your body.

–For ten breaths, watch your belly. Literally lower your head so you can see your belly rise and fall. At about five breaths, see if you can slow your breathing. If your belly is not moving, breathe deeper. Opening your mouth wide can help you get more breath.

–Let the sound of your breath soothe you. It sounds like a waterfall, when you breathe deeply.  Imagine this waterfall of sound washing through your brain, and cascading through your entire being, carrying with it all stress and strain. Let it wash down your whole body, down past your feet and into the ground. You can say something along the lines of, “I let go” and “I am at peace.”

There is something to “fake it til you make it.” My early practice was full of frustration. But like learning an instrument or a sport, you keep going. Eventually, you hit your rhythm.