Stopping Your Thoughts, Counting Your Breaths

In emergency moments, it’s always therapeutic to learn how to stop your thoughts and count your breaths. It has a calming neutral focus of attention and takes advantage of the naturally relaxing effect of deep breathing and thought management.

Let me give you below some steps you can do to achieve this:

1. Whenever you notice disturbing, anxiety provoking thoughts, sub vocalize or internally shout “STOP!” to yourself or snap a rubber band around your wrist.
2. Then, shift your attention to your breathing. Begin taking slow, deep breaths into your belly.
3. Place a hand over your abdomen to make sure it is expanding with each breath.
4. Now start counting your breaths. As you exhale, count one. As you exhale again, count two. Keep counting up to four.
5. Each time you reach four, start over again at one.
6. Keep your mind as empty as possible as you focus on the experience of breathing and counting.
7. To distract yourself from or replace unwanted thoughts, use images or visualization of pleasant scenery or events.
8. Continue the procedure until you feel relaxed.
9. Repeat procedure each time anxiety provoking thoughts occur. Practice before sleep.

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