Do you feel a little annoyed when people tell you that you need to calm down? Especially, when you feel like you are doing a good job of seeming calm and in control. Or, in this past year are you conflicted seeing instagram posts with a rosy view of the “pandemic slow down”–and you’re thinking, I’m homeschooling kids, the sink is a never ending mountain of dishes, I’m on video calls morning ‘til night, and our new puppy is like having a newborn–What is rosy and slow about this?
Whether we realize it or not, when we are anxious or stressed, our body is in a state of fight or flight. The reasons for our stress level are very understandable, but our body is not as discerning, it does not know how to rationalize it. Our body doesn’t know if we are stressed because we are trying to juggle home and work, what to make for dinner, or if we are about to be hit by a semi-truck.
How do we step out of the line of the semi-truck?
It’s hard to be your best when you think you are about to be hit by a semi-truck. When our body is stressed our brain function is limited, it’s hard to think clearly and fully engage in what’s before us–to be present–and the true experience of the moment is tainted. Learning to bring our body to a place of calm, out of the state of fight or flight, allows us to truly experience the moment, to show up as the person we want to be and to be able to connect with those around us.
A place to begin, focus on your breath for 30 seconds. It can be done anywhere–your car, at your desk on a video call, or at the dinner table. Your body already knows how to breathe, that part is done! Bringing awareness to your inhales and exhales is a quick and easy way to regulate your body and give a true moment of calm.
How to focus on your breath.
Breathing through your nose, take three slow inhales and exhales, and give your attention to your breath. For an extra boost, you may want to drop your shoulders, squeeze your shoulder blades together, or lift the crown of your head to the sky–release anything you are holding tight to. Notice how you feel. Practicing this exercise throughout the day will create a big impact in your life–you’ll notice you are in the moment over and over again. These are little meditative moments that create space to think, to notice and to connect with yourself on what’s important.
Try it out and let us know how you feel at firstname.lastname@example.org.