Mindful Breathing

Courtesy :BerkeleyX: GG101x The Science of Happiness

The most basic way to do mindful breathing is simply to focus your attention on your breath, the inhale and exhale. You can do this while standing, but ideally you’ll be sitting or even lying in a comfortable position. Your eyes may be open or closed, but you may find it easier to maintain your focus if you close your eyes. It can help to set aside a designated time for this exercise, but it can also help to practice it when you’re feeling particularly stressed or anxious. Experts believe a regular practice of mindful breathing can make it easier to do it in difficult situations.

Sometimes, especially when trying to calm yourself in a stressful moment, it might help to start by taking an exaggerated breath: a deep inhale through your nostrils (3 seconds), hold your breath (2 seconds), and a long exhale through your mouth (4 seconds). Otherwise, simply observe each breath without trying to adjust it; it may help to focus on the rise and fall of your chest or the sensation through your nostrils. As you do so, you may find that your mind wanders, distracted by thoughts or bodily sensations. That’s OK. Just notice that this is happening and gently bring your attention back to your breath.

  1. Begin by finding a relaxed, comfortable position. You could be seated on a chair or on the floor on a cushion. Keep your back upright, but not too tight. Hands resting wherever they’re comfortable. Tongue on the roof of your mouth or wherever it’s comfortable.
  2. Notice and relax your body. Try to notice the shape of your body, its weight. Let yourself relax and become curious about your body seated here—the sensations it experiences, the touch, the connection with the floor or the chair. Relax any areas of tightness or tension. Just breathe.
  3. Tune into your breath. Feel the natural flow of breath—in, out. You don’t need to do anything to your breath. Not long, not short, just natural. Notice where you feel your breath in your body. It might be in your abdomen. It may be in your chest or throat or in your nostrils. See if you can feel the sensations of breath, one breath at a time. When one breath ends, the next breath begins.
  4. Now as you do this, you might notice that your mind may start to wander. You may start thinking about other things. If this happens, it is not a problem. It’s very natural. Just notice that your mind has wandered. You can say “thinking” or “wandering” in your head softly. And then gently redirect your attention right back to the breathing.
  5. Stay here for five to seven minutes. Notice your breath, in silence. From time to time, you’ll get lost in thought, then return to your breath.
  6. After a few minutes, once again notice your body, your whole body, seated here. Let yourself relax even more deeply and then offer yourself some appreciation for doing this practice today.

Hard to change beliefs?

confirmation bias
  1. the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.
    Also giving high importance to evidences in support of your belief and giving less or zero( discard) importance to evidenced against your belief.

Hypothetical discussion with a Muslim friend (X) :

Me : ” What do you believe?”

X: I believe that  Islam is the best religion.

Me: “Ok, how does that make you feel ?”

X: “It makes me happy everyday . Especially when nothing works for me. It picks me up ” ( I can see happiness on his face)

Me: ” That’s great. But why do believe it(the belief)  ?”

X: ” Because my father told me.  I think he is never wrong ”

Me: “Let me great this straight , you are happy because you believe in something . And your belief comes from  your father who you think is trustworthy or never wrong”

X: ” Pretty much”

Me: ” What if someone shows to you that in fact your father is not trustworthy ?”

X: ” That could mean what he says may not be true”

Me: “So?”

X: ” That could mean Islam may not be the best religion.”

Me: “So?”

X: ” That means my belief could be false.”

Me: ” How would that make you feel ?”

X: ” Very sad. ”

Me: ” Will you try to find/ accept an evidence that is going to make you sad ?”

X: ” Never”

( Conversation ends)


Why Islam as an example ?

Because I am trying to understand why can’t we have rational debate with most Muslim people ? Why in spite solid contrary evidence they keep saying ” religion of peace” ? Why are they so blind to things which are so freakingly apparent to us ?


This conversation is just tip of an iceberg. There are too many of them. Think about it.