This counting exercise is a simple exercise to help you sharpen mental focus, eliminate stray thoughts, and calm the mind especially at the end of the day when you need to unwind and prepare for a good sleep. Before you begin, find a comfortable, quiet place such as a bed. Lie down with your hands on both sides. Make sure there will be no interruptions for the following 10 minutes including the telephone so that total focus can be achieved.
This easy exercise involves three simple steps:
1. Count from One to Ten, then from Ten back to One – This is the easiest part, everyone knows how to count.
2. Count upon inhalation OR exhalation – So how do we know which one to pick? Let’s say it’s the end of the day and you are trying to sleep but you just have so many things running in your mind that keep you from falling asleep. You would count on exhalation – as if you are using this technique to get rid of the stray thoughts and quite your mind; In the morning when you wake up, but you are feeling so tired and seem to have no energy to get up, you would count on inhalation- as if you are trying to inhale the energy from outside to replenish your own.
3. During counting, if any stray thoughts pop up count from the beginning again – this is the hardest part. When you begin to practice this exercise, just focus on your counting. But very soon stray thoughts might begin to pop up. When that happens, please go back to One and start all over again. This also is a good exercise to test how long you can stay concentrated on one thing.
Please practice this exercise daily and you will find yourself counting further and further from One. Please note, if you are absolutely cannot focus on counting, do not stress yourself out. Just stop the practice, do it tomorrow when your mind has quieted down.