How many spiders might be nestled in the corners of windows and hallways, how thick the layer of dust would be on the tops of tables and shelves, and how much cat hair would be covering the rugs, chairs or couches, after being away for an entire month!
One thing I wasn’t expecting was the horrible stench that my daughter discovered upon opening the refrigerator door. Thinking perhaps it was just the old turkey cold cuts and eggs left there from the beginning of July, I threw everything out and wiped it out really well. Then, I proceeded to reload the fridge with fresh new produce. Only to discover the next morning, that there was a similar rancid smell when I reached in to get out the blueberries for breakfast. As I grabbed a water bottle and realized it wasn’t cold, it finally dawned on me the refrigerator was not working!
With three days to get my daughter ready for college, and two of those days devoted to catching up with clients and also preparing and presenting healthy eating seminars to a large local corporate office, all the while with a broken refrigerator in the kitchen, I felt like I went from zero to sixty in less than two seconds!
Can you relate?
It didn’t hit me until Tuesday night. After shopping all day with my daughter, I began cleaning, chopping and cooking (for the presentation the next day) when all of the sudden I realized that I was completely unaware of my breath. My breathing was extremely shallow almost as if I was holding it. I immediately thought, “Ah yes, that is what I need to do, I need to take some nice long deep breaths to bring myself back to center” – to get myself to relax in the midst of the overwhelming feeling lurking all around me.
BUT, I resisted. There was no time to pause, to focus on something other than the tasks at hand.
Have you ever had the experience when someone will tell you to relax and breathe, and all you want to do is tell them to shut up – leave me alone, you don’t understand. Or better yet, you think, “I got this, I don’t need to relax, I need to be stronger, faster, tighter, then “it” will get done!” That’s our natural inclination, but really we need to think again and reprogram our thoughts.
Whether you are immersed in a family vacation (no matter how long), stressed about an upcoming event or work deadline, crazed with juggling all your responsibilities, or dealing with an uncontrollable event, if you want to feel more grounded, more productive, more relaxed and well really, your best you, take time out to BREATHE!
In other words, it isn’t about the shoulds and to do’s (the finish line if you will). In order to be your best you, you have to be present on the journey. Our breathe is the easiest and most effective way to get more grounded, present, and access a relaxed state at any given moment.
Getting grounded is about bringing ourself back inward – instead of worrying about everyone else, getting pulled many different directions, feeling guilty about our own goals, sweating the small stuff or getting stuck in the muck. Turning inward, or leaning in, allows us to think and see the big picture so we can find that place of peace that we so desperately want but feel like we have to escape or get away to find, when we really don’t. It’s right in front of us.
So, every day, for just a moment, let go of the shoulds, have to’s and pause to breathe. Then, as you breathe, reflect on what you need. When you take care of you, the rest will effortlessly flow into place.
Here’s two EASY breathing exercises for you to try. Leave me a comment below and share what feels best to you
- Sit in a comfortable position with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Or if you can, lie down on your back, with your arms out to your sides as if you were about to make a snow angle. Place your palms face up. Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose long and slow to the count of eight seconds, pause and hold your breath for four seconds, then gently let it go, breathing out through your mouth to the count of seven seconds.
- Quicker version: This can be done anywhere, anytime, especially any time you begin to feel like your spiraling out of control! Breathe in through your nose long and slow. Pause, then let it out slowly through your mouth or nose. Imagine you are breathing in all good things and breathing out all frustration, negativity or stress.