I’ve shared this tool before, but it feels more important now as “our world” collectively feels like it is spinning out of control while grinding to a halt. You may be feeling anxious, fearful, and possibly isolated with the havoc this virus is causing?
While there are guidelines for taking care of yourself physically, like hand-washing, I’d like to share a tool you can use for your emotional welbeing that is free, easy, and immediately at your disposal. This is one thing we don’t often do, and that is focus inward instead of the typical outward approach we use to “fixing” things.
As a society that enjoys instant gratification, this tool is simple to do and the results are immediate. This tool may even become the magic pill you need to get through this time.
While the “formal version” of this tool is to sit quietly with your eyes closed, withmost of us isolating in our homes it may prove challenging to find any privacy if you live with others. So, another way to use this tool is to go into the bathroom, sit on the toilet lid, shut the door and run the water for a moment while you do this. Even your car is a possibility.
What do you notice? How do you feel now? What is different?
If you can’t reach the breathing count, simply shorten the breaths until you are able to expand beyond 4 counts to 8 counts or perhaps 12 counts depending on your lung capacity. The idea is NOT to make yourself pass out, so be gentle with yourself.
Hopefully what you’ll achieve by using this tool, bringing fresh air into your brain and lungs, is to put yourself in a calmer place to make better choices/decisions. By focusing on the breath, you place yourself in the moment, instead of the future, which often feels negative, immediate and certain, in particular if you watch/listen or read any news. Focused breathing enables you to be in the moment, which is the only moment you have ANY control over. This is called practicing stillness. It takes time to achieve fully, yet using the short version of this tool will give you a new start of “beingness” through the stress. Do this breathing exercise several times a day, and over time you will start to notice feeling more calm, clarity and control.
Many of us already live stressful lives, without taking the time to go inward and consider our own health and wellbeing. I ask you...if not NOW, when?
(Disclaimer: I have used this technique with many of my clients over the years and they have often reported feeling calmer in the moment and over time, even more so. I hope this tool can bring you some peace as well.)
Terri O'Donnell is a certified Life Coach. She is an honest, straight shooter who is dedicated to using her training and experience to help people live the life they desire.