Dancing Elephants Press Book Project

Centering Yourself — A Calming Mindfulness Meditation Technique

DEP Book Project Mindfulness Prompt — (Editor)

Image by Volker Kraus from Pixabay

In life, we constantly face stressful situations. Our minds are always busy trying to find solutions to problems — real and perceived. In the process, we tend to lose focus and become overwhelmed.

How to regain our equilibrium? By practicing mindfulness regularly, by being fully present in the moment, conscious of where we are and what we are doing, without being overpowered by what is going on around us.

We can practice mindfulness through meditation or simply take the time to pause and breathe, and pay attention, without judgment. An example is zazen meditation.

Mindfulness is positively associated with psychological health, and that training in mindfulness may bring about positive psychological effects. These effects ranged from increased subjective well-being, reduced psychological symptoms and emotional reactivity, to improved regulation of behavior. (Source)

Right now, even as I adjust the halo around my head feeling super-proud of myself for finishing various things on my to-do list based on my focus for May — this involves content planning, writing, formatting, stressing over images, and creating pins and whatnot, along with work deadlines and the usual routine stuff — I feel the pressure.

Do you experience that kind of pressure, too?

The truth is, that stress is a standard part of life. It’s just that the levels vary depending on what we’re faced with, at the time. Sometimes we let our nerves get the better of us and allow feelings of anxiety to freak us out. Our hearts beat faster, we feel breathless, and sometimes sweat — all symptoms of anxiety.

I have learned an effective technique called “centering” to redirect all this nervous energy into positive concentration. It helps me focus, release my worries, and accomplish my goals.

And I am about to share it with you because I am sure I am not alone when it comes to freaking out over that never-ending to-do list or an important deadline or life’s numerous problems!

The best part? This technique is great for children as well, what with exam stress and other performance pressures. So, as you learn to do this, please also teach it to your children or children you know.

But first . . .

What is centering?

An ancient visualization technique in Aikido, the Japanese defensive martial art of spiritual harmony, centering guides you towards focusing on the here and now by taking power away from all those negative thoughts.

The result? You stay grounded and stable.

Aikido trains your mind to control the body’s reaction with the concept of “qi”.

See, our mental and physical power is generated from the flow of energy around our bodies. When we become stressed, we lose energy. Centering redirects the negative energy so that we benefit from it.

Can you recall a time when you were scared or stressed?

What was your physical reaction? Breathlessness? Sweaty palms? Shaking? Rapid heartbeat?

Now, here is what you do. Just think of these feelings as an outcome of energy flowing through your body. When you practice centering, you use your mind to redirect this energy to the center of your body, producing inner calm.

Practice centering to improve your focus and manage stress. You can use it before a stage performance, an exam, an important meeting, a game/match, before a tough conversation, an event, and just about any time you need to gather your wits around you. Centering will help you express yourself clearly, compassionately, and effectively.

Here is a step-by-step guide to centering

Did you know that whenever you accomplish something effortlessly and with focus, you are already practicing centering? Yes, you are, because you are awesome!

Now let’s put a structure to this centering so that you can maximize your focus! It is easy and there are just three steps!

Step 1: Focus on Your Breathing

Breathe deeply, consciously, using your diaphragm to inhale air into your lungs.

Here’s how you do deep breathing

  • Lie down comfortably.
  • Place a hand on your stomach.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose.
  • The air will push against your hand.
  • Move only your stomach.
  • Don’t move your chest and shoulders.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth.
  • Repeat

Focus on your breathing. As you breathe slowly and deeply, release the tension from your body. Scan your body, starting with your toes, working your way up, and focusing on each group of muscles. Relax any muscles that feel tense.

Step 2: Locate Your Center

Next, find your physical center of gravity, which is about two inches below your navel. Focus your mind on this area. Soon you will find yourself feeling grounded and stable.

Whenever you feel stressed, focus your attention on this center — that area below your navel — to feel balanced and in control. Breathe deeply as you concentrate on this area to feel centered.

Step 3: Channel Your Energy

It’s time now to redirect your energy towards achieving your goal. To visualize all the energy in your body flowing into your center, use imagery of your choice.

One example I can give you is to imagine it as a bright balloon.

Imagine putting all your negative thoughts into this balloon. When you inhale, say: “I let…” and when you exhale, say “go!” Imagine this balloon floating away!

You can also think of your energy as a ball; visualize throwing it away into the distance. Essentially, you are letting go of all that’s stressing you out.

Now picture your center filled with calm, free from stress and tension.

When you inhale again, focus on what you want to accomplish. Focus on positive thinking.

I like to use an affirmation where I imagine positive outcomes. Use one of your favorite quotes.

The whole idea behind the centering exercise is to remove imagined problems and what-ifs from your mind and replace these with confidence.

Do practice this and let me know how you feel. At any rate, practicing deep breathing will take you halfway there!

Be happy!

Reference links:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3679190/

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Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles

Writing about Self Improvement, Mindfulness, Meditation, Parenting, Health, Travel, Life, Books. Showing my diabetes who’s boss. Visit: https://vidyasury.com