For years I have been passionate about personally and professionally making one simple change at a time in five key areas of our life. Nutrition, movement, relationships, quality sleep, and stress management. The most impactful of those five pillars of health is stress management because it affects the other four key areas. If we are stressed, we are less likely to make wise food choices. If we are stressed, getting movement would help exponentially, but we don’t feel like getting out and moving. Stress also affects our interactions with others and our ability to fall into a restful sleep.
Here is an easy tip that will help us get into the present, help our brain release calming hormones, and moving that stress out of our mind and body.
Breathing in a square. As you breathe, visualize drawing four lines that create a square. Let’s go – take a deep inhale and imagine drawing a horizontal line from left to right that is about four inches long; hold that breath for four seconds as you imagine drawing a vertical line from the end of the horizontal line you just draw down about four inches; slowly exhale EVERYTHING out of your lungs as you draw another four-inch horizontal line from right to left; hold your breath for four seconds as you imagine drawing a vertical line from the end of the horizontal line you just drew up about four inches to your original line and completing our square.
Wow, right?! What is happening? Two things, the deep breathing increases the oxygen to our brain which stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and invites calmness. The second thing happening is as we visualize drawing the square, our mind stays focused on the present. That focus with the present means that we can’t worry about what we’re going to cook for dinner if our boss is going to be in a good mood today, whether a friend will be kind or mean (just saying, they’ll be kind if you are!) and a million other unlikely worries that rob us of peace and joy.
So, I invite you to be mindful when your mind is full. I will amaze you how this simple trick has a HUGE impact on your daily life.