Can we elegantly navigate stress? Yes.
Do we sometimes need a tool or a technique to help us do so elegantly? Yes.
The times are stressful! The news around current events seems to get worse and worse. At times... heartbreaking. When will it stop?
While the answer is not clear, one thing you can do - RIGHT NOW - to ground and center, to focus and move forward effectively, is to engage with this simple breathing practice. The gal who introduced me to it calls it: 5-4-3-2-1. It is beneficial for deregulating the nervous system so that we can effectively process what's called "secondary trauma" or that which arises within us as the result of watching or hearing the news that's occurring far away.
I instruct it in two ways. The simplest and least time consuming is to...
Sit down. Bring attention to your posture. Sit back a wee bit, and rest as comfortably as you can - legs uncrossed and feet on the floor. Elongate your spine. Then take a few deeps breaths - in through your nose, and out through your mouth.
Now, look around you, and...
This practice may be repeated again and again. It may take a few rounds before you feel fully present in the here and now.
The more you practice it, the easier it will become. You will soon drop right in to the present moment. Use it to calm you mind and anchor you into a place that feels safe and known.
From that place, you get to choose how you want to interact with the news around you. Is it from a place of reaction? Or can you respond in a manner that may be more intelligent and useful, both to you, and to those around you?
If you have more time, or want something that will take you a bit deeper at the end of a long day, try this:
* Start as outlined above, sitting comfortably.
* Bring your attention to your breath.
* Take breaths that are comfortably long, and comfortably slow.
* Count backwards with each breath.
- First, from 5 to 1.
- Then, from 4 to 1.
- Then, from 3 to 1.
- Then, from 2 to 1.
- Then, take one long breath in, and sigh it all the way out. Notice how your feel. Notice the quality of your mind now, compared to when you began.
This is wonderful to do right before bed, too. Use it any time, any where to soothe, calm, and focus your mind and body.
As you navigate these tumultuous times, I wish for you the steadiness of a mountain's base, and the clarity found only on the summit.
Please share your experiences by leaving a comment to this post, below. Thank you.
Sharon Harvey Alexander, C-IAYT