Your mind is racing, your muscles are tense, your chest feels tight, and the voice of someone who cares about you says “take a deep breath”. This familiar expression isn’t always what you want to hear, but it’s intuitively correct. It’s important because when we get stressed, we can get stuck.
Our breath is one of the best tools we have to regulate our emotions, reduce stress, and calm down. As expert Connie Oden LCSW of LifeSource pointed out when she came in to educate our team, “mindful breathing is free, and it’s something you can do right here right now” to combat stress.
If you’re feeling the symptoms of stress – such as headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, or difficulty sleeping – try The 3 Minute Breathing Space to keep calm and tiny goal on. The 3 Minute Breathing Space (courtesy of Connie Oden, recommended to practice 3 times a day)
Bring yourself into the present moment by deliberately adopting an erect and dignified posture. If possible, close your eyes. Then ask yourself: “What is my experience right now… in thoughts… in feelings… and in bodily sensations?”
Then, gently redirect full attention to the breathing, to each in-breath and each out-breath as they follow, one after the other. Your breath can function as an anchor to bring you into the present and help you to tune into a state of awareness and stillness.
Expand the field of your awareness around your breathing, so that it includes a sense of the body as a whole, your posture and facial expression.
The key skill in mindfulness is to maintain awareness in the moment. Nothing else.