The Benson technique involves choosing a specific short phrase that has some meaning to you if you have one based on your spiritual tradition or a self-made mantra.
You can also just use the word ‘one’ like Dr. Benson did with his patients or use something you create for yourself. Dr. Benson studied this technique and the effects on the brain and body extensively at Harvard and was able to conclude practicing it leads to people being able to activate the brain and body’s relaxation response which can help calm and focus the mind and break out of ‘fight or flight mode from stress.
Something short and meaningful such as a single word like ‘peace’ or ‘focus’ and saying this on each exhale. Once you have your word or phrase, you will repeat in your mind your word or phrase every time you exhale:
- Focusing your attention on Repeating a word or phrase on every exhale as you take relaxed belly breaths sitting or lying in a comfortable position.
- Adopting an attitude of patience and kindness to yourself when the mind wanders and just returning to repeating the word or phrase. It is normal for the mind to wander and does not mean you are ‘doing it wrong.’