I've been meditating pretty consistently for several months now. But I have a really hard time focusing on my breath without my mind drifting off. I seem to do better if I can focus on a sound (ticking clock, metronome), maybe because these are a bit faster than my breath. Does anyone else struggle with this or should I just stop trying and focus on sound instead?
GREAT question @Hallcj. Coordinating our breath with numbers can be hard! It's actually quite interesting - I've found it may help to try different inputs. Auditory, visual, kinesthetic. These are all things we use in teaching movement and exercise in physical therapy to help build awareness. Here are some tips I use to help with pain-relief breathwork:
You can actually set a metronome at a slower pace if the auditory cue works well for you! I would also recommend trying a visual cue. Heres a visual from youtube that is a decent speed, although you can browse a bit more. The average breaths per minute for someone is 12-16 if that helps!
The last type of cue, kinesthetic, would be to place one hand on your chest and one on your belly. Try to focus on the belly rising a bit more than your chest with the inhale (with the intent of the chest not moving as much). The other option I would suggest is placing both hands on either side of your ribs and filling the lower lungs with air as you feel the ribs expand. Let me know if you have questions!