I get asked all the time for mindfulness practices any one can use from the boardroom to the therapy room and at home, so I thought I’d start a blog – A place where a CEO, a parent, a teachers or a psychotherapist can come to get simple tools.
For our second Mindful Tool, I’d like to introduce the Five Finger Breathing.
This is a great tool because works for all ages and can be used at any time of the day. Try it before a business meeting (or during if need be) or right before bed with a young child. Couples also love it as a way to connect.
What I like about this practice is that it’s not only a meditation, but it’s a great grounding tool as well. Grounding important because it can reduce the intensity of big emotions quickly and effectively. Experiencing an almost total reduction in physical or emotional activation just through grounding can be surprising, since grounding is very simple.
When we ground we connect more deeply and completely to the body, strengthening the feeling of being inside the body and connected to the ground. We are once again able to respond to a stressful situation versus reacting out of frustration or anger.
For this practice take the pointer finger of one hand and trace the other hand and then switch. Start at the wrist and trace up the thumb breathing in then trace back to the starting point (the wrist) breathing out, next go up the pointer finger breathing in and back to the wrist breathing out, now to the middle finger doing the same, now the ring finger and pinky finger continuing breathing in as you move up the finger and breathing out as you move back down to the wrist and then change hands and repeat the pattern.
This, like all mindfulness & meditation practices will work best when done consistently. I suggest doing Five Finger Breathing one time per day, every day. This is also a great tool for when emotions are running high.
As a parent we often want our children to “get it” or do it “right.” By modeling the practice children will eventually do it. In the meantime, try to remember that they are doing it to the best of their ability. Consider it a time to pause for yourself and know that no matter what your child is doing during the practice, it’s a moment of presence and calm and you are teaching them a valuable tool. They are learning a lot more than we think, even when it looks like they are just messing around. As with all of these practices, they are never to be used as punishment.
Enjoy and reach out if you have questions or comments.
If you would like me to help your child or family or come to your school or business, please contact me. I can also teach these practices remotely if you are not local to Los Angeles.