Do you remember the first movie called “The Karate Kid?” The lessons using the task, wax on, wax off? Each task was a lesson in mindfulness, feeling, and listening to learn the proper motions of the body, becoming one with the body. Something those of us with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have a difficult time doing. It can be especially difficult for those with a childhood abuse history. It is simple to begin and does not require more than a few seconds at a time in the beginning, it will teach you to listen and find the correct answers to live without stress. You will eventually develop the skills to manage the stress and let others do as they choose, finding self-control, self-management much easier.
The following exercises are from The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh:
Begin by learning to listen to your breath enter through your nose, repeat in your mind “I am breathing in one” on the inhale, let the breath enter slowly. On a slow exhale through the nostrils repeat the mantra, but say “I am breathing out one. Repeat for three breaths. Do this as often as it feels comfortable through out the day. Continue to increase the breath, paying attention now to the feel of the air against your nostrils and entering your lungs. Do not force this practice, relax as you do this exercise.
Another exercise Thich Nhat Hanh describes in the book is bringing your attention to the task at hand, not thinking or being distracted by outside forces. The “Washing the dishes for the sake of washing the dishes.” Pay attention to each motion, the feel of the dish, the water, and sponge or item you use to wash the dishes. While stacking them pay attention to the motions. Breathe easily and slowly.
No other thoughts are required at this time. Practice this every time you do anything in your day, notice the tension, listen to the tension, if it becomes to much, let it go and go back to listening to your breath. These exercises will increase your tolerance for physical and mental discomfort. I keep a journal of these experiences and what I heard in my body and mind while doing them.