What are you thinking about right now?
Now try this; don't think about a pink elephant. Now what are you thinking about?
Now; think about your breathing; feel the air coming in through your nose, cool and fresh. Feel it flowing out through your nose, warmer now. Don't worry about whether or not you are thinking about pink elephants dancing past, stick with your breathing. In and out. In and out.
Don't try and change your breathing, just let it come and go. Try this for a few minutes.
At this point you probably find all sorts of things come into your mind, not just pink elephants; memories, work, worries, children, pets, aches, pains...the list goes on. For now, just breathe. In and out. In and out. Focus on your breathing.
You might find that you get carried away with some of the thoughts, as soon as you do, come back to focussing on your breathing.
I like to think of my thoughts as a fast flowing river. When I notice I have been carried away by a thought, I mentally climb out of the river, shake the water off and sit down again on the bank, watching the river flow past and just breathe.
Another watery, and classic, analogy is a glass of muddy water. If you leave it alone, it will settle. It is the same with your mind. It has no off switch, but if you give it chance, it will settle.
Mindfulness helps give it chance to settle.
In their excellent book on mindfulness for health Burch & Penman put it beautifully;
You can take a breath only for this moment. Mindfulness is the acceptance of the situation in this moment.
So for just a moment today focus on your breathing and give your busy mind a chance to settle.
A Moodscope member.