When starting any sort of practice or exercise, finding the technique that works for you is half the battle.
Some people can walk into a gym and work non-stop for 2 hours. For others, that sounds like a literal nightmare.
It’s the same with any mental fitness exercise. Sitting down and focusing on your breath for 30 minutes can feel impossible for some people.
You have to find the technique that works for you, otherwise, you just won’t do it.
The Anchoring Breath
If you’ve ever meditated before or tried a mindfulness practice, you know how important our breath is.
It gives us something to anchor ourselves into the moment. A place to return to when (not if) our mind wanders.
The simple act of breathing is supposed to keep us locked into the present moment.
But, what if it doesn’t? Focusing on the breath can feel uncomfortable or just downright impossible.
Does that mean that mindfulness and meditation just aren’t for you?
Absolutely not. All it means is that you need a different technique. That’s where breath visualizations come into play.
Visualize to Optimize
With a little bit of practice (and a smidge of imagination), visualizations can help you connect and focus in on your breath, thus strengthening your muscle of concentration.
These visualization techniques help us achieve something called one-pointed attention.
One-pointed attention is like the superhero who fights the villain of distraction.
Have you ever eaten food and watched tv at the same time? Come on, who hasn’t?
When we multitask like this, we are distracted. Instead of enjoying every single mouthful to the fullest, we’re kind of shoving the food down bite after bite, eagerly chasing the next taste.
One-pointed attention is the opposite of that. It’s like sitting in a quiet, unadorned room, focusing every fiber of your attention on each individual bite of food.
Now, I’m not suggesting you should eat every meal like this. But, adopting a practice like breath visualizations can help you break distractions and strengthen your muscle of attention in your daily life.
Think of these visualizations as tools in your toolbox. You won’t always need them, but they are there when you do.
Even if you only practice this for a few minutes a day, you’ll find that over time this sort of calm, hyper-focused awareness will start to seep into your daily life.
Remember, mental fitness all about finding a technique that works for you. And the only way to know is to give it a try.