Tragedy can strike us all at any time. We can have an accident, receive a serious diagnosis or have a relationship that ends without warning.

Our trauma stays with us and can surface later on in mental, physical or emotional reactions.

Whether increased stressors in life trigger them or a sound on the TV, these feelings can be unsettling and can interrupt your day and your mood. In times like these, meditation is a great way to slow down, take a breath and realize that everything is OK.

Breathing meditation

This breathing meditation will help relax your body and your mind. During this breathing meditation, you will focus on your breath. This will calm your mind and relax your body. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Whatever you experience during this breathing meditation is right for you. Don’t try to make anything happen, just observe. You are safe and you are in control today.

  • Let’s start by getting into a comfortable position. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, slowly close your eyes.
  • Take another deep inhale … and exhale. Roll your shoulders slowly forward and then slowly back. Lean your head from side to side, lowering your left ear toward your left shoulder and then your right ear toward your right shoulder. Begin to let your muscles relax. Your body will continue to relax as you meditate.
  • Observe your breathing. Notice how your breath flows in and out. Make no effort to change your breathing in any way. Simply notice how your body naturally breathes. Sit quietly, seeing in your mind’s eye your breath flowing gently in and out of your body. Know that you’re safe and protected in this environment. There’s no place else you need to be … no place else you need to go … nothing else you should be doing.
  • Continue just observing your breathing. When your attention wanders, as it will, just focus back again on your breathing. Notice any stray thoughts, but don’t dwell on them. Simply let the thoughts pass.
  • See how your breath continues to flow—deeply, calmly. Notice the stages of a complete breath, from the in breath to the pause that follows, the exhale, and the pause before taking another breath.
  • Feel the air entering through your nose. Picture the breath flowing through the cavities in your sinuses and then down to your lungs. As thoughts intrude (and they will), allow them to pass and return your attention to your breathing.
  • Feel your chest and stomach gently rise and fall with each breath. Now as you inhale, count silently, “one …”, as you exhale, count … “one …”
  • Wait for the next breath and count again … “one.” Continue to count each inhalation and exhalation as “one.” Notice now how your body feels. See how calm and gentle your breathing is and how relaxed your body feels.

How do you feel?

People react to meditation in a variety of different ways. After you complete your meditation, take a moment to write down how you feel.

Do you feel calm? At peace? Lighter? How has your mood changed? Explore the physical, mental and emotional impact meditating has for you, then share this guided meditation with someone you love who also can benefit from it!

Photo credit: Natalia Figueredo, Unsplash