I find it more calming to count down from 10 to 1. Counting up activates my nervous system somehow, building excitement that something is Progressing and Happening! I enjoyed getting “permission” to count during meditation. It’s a method I used very early on in my practice, when I sat a half-day retreat with very little experience. As I’ve continued to meditate, my teachers have guided me away from counting toward methods that feel less constrained and open up more to whatever’s arising. I enjoyed indulging in counting: It built a strong flow of concentration that I could jump back into after getting distracted.
I continued the counting practice throughout the day a bit — while waiting at a stoplight, while giving a massage and noticing I was feeling rushed on time and was getting stuck in my head. It gave me a pause that offered a little respite in my day.