“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” –Thich Nhat Hahn
It doesn’t always help us to feel calmer when a friend says, “just relax”. When you are feeling stressed about your parents’ declining mobility or about managing health appointments, or perhaps sad about seeing changes in your spouse, finding a few moments of relaxation can be a sweet antidote to stress and discomfort.
Letting your body slow down for even five minutes helps re-set your whole system. You have my permission to put down the dirty dishes, and to put away your to-do list. Now is a time for you to recharge your batteries, which will in turn help you care more effectively for your loved one.
This short post explains how mindful breathing calms the body and mind:
Get comfy in a chair, and close your eyes. Sit upright yet relaxed.
Put one hand on your chest area, in the middle.
Place the other hand on your tummy.
Breathe in a full breath, and breathe out completely. Continue breathing mindfully like this for 3 minutes or so.
Notice: How do you feel afterwards?
Whenever you find yourself feeling frustrated or worried, pausing to breathe like this can help you reconnect with the fact that you are doing your best; that things aren’t perfect but they are manageable in this moment, as you sit and breathe.
Your homework: Write down 3 things that relax you, and commit to doing one of them every day.
Remember that in order to be productive you also have to focus on relaxation.