Friday, October 2, 2015

Thank you

It is usually those things that matter to us the most that cause us despair, heightened anxiety and the deepest grief. Our stress level can rise considerably for many reasons. It could be loss due to death or separation, fear of an unknown outcome at work, worry about the wellbeing of our children, instability as a result of fluctuating income, being overwhelmed with responsibilities, the consequences of wrong decisions, conflict in our closest relationships or health problems, among others.  It is easy to get caught up in feelings of hopelessness, discouragement and victimization. It seems we are always on guard. Ready for a fight or a run. And still, we have to carry on.

Today, let's take a few moments to shift from these heavy and negative feelings to feelings that will lift us up and motivate us. Let's use the power of our thoughts, the power of gratitude, in connection with our breath to relax our minds and ease the strain in our systems.

Set a timer for five minutes or longer, preferably one that will not startle you at the end of the set time. Sit comfortably and close your eyes softly. Breathe through your nose for a count of three and hold the breath for a count of three. Breathe out for a count of five.

Breathe in for a count of three. Breathe out for a count of five.

Bring to mind someone, something or a situation that may be causing you stress and say thank you. Find something to be thankful for about whatever came to your mind. Breathe in, 1-2-3. Breathe out, 1-2-3-4-5. If this is difficult, be thankful for this moment. Thank you for this moment.

Continue the in-three-breaths, out-five-breaths pattern of breathing for the rest of the time set on your timer.

When the timer alerts you, open your eyes slowly and smile. Stay for a minute or two before you continue your day. Feel calm. Nothing has changed, except for you. All is well as long as you carry this feeling of composure, internal balance and harmony. As the day goes on and you feel as though you may lose this sense of equanimity, come back to it by taking a deep breath or two and saying thank you.

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