► You Know The Feeling
Tension, anger, impatience, frustration. The build-up of stress. How many times a day is your temper challenged by someone you work with, or who you live with? What about that driver that just pulled in front of you, cutting it close and without signaling? Worse, you can see that other driver was speaking on their mobile phone. Your pulse rate goes up, and chances are you will react immediately, firing back a harsh response to that co-worker, or family member, or blasting your car horn at that irritating driver. These reactions often lead to even more stressful interactions.
And then there's time stress, a category of tension all its own. You're late for a meeting or an appointment. Traffic isn't moving, people are in your way, "why didn't I leave earlier?" you ask yourself as your heart pounds away.
► Results In 30 Seconds Or Less
There is an easy way to manage these situations, diffusing the stress and avoiding a reactive, or over-reactive response. It only takes about 30 seconds, and it works every time. The secret is a combination of deep breathing and repeating a few simple expressions that seem to calm the subconscious.
At the end of this blog I’ll explain why they work so effectively.
For the breathing, we’re going to borrow a fundamental yoga technique. No need to stretch or bend; just take a few yoga breaths, which are slow, and deep. Here’s how:
Inhale a bit deeper than normal, not too much but enough that you are aware of your lungs fully filling. Don’t hold your breath, but let it out slowly, and more fully than usual. Again, just enough that you are aware of the exhale extending a bit.
While you’re inhaling and exhaling, your core is going to be activated. The core is your center, generally involving your abs, or abdominal muscles and your diaphragm, which controls your breathing. When you are inhaling, your core should be moving forward, outward. On each exhale, pull the core back in, forcing it gently but firmly towards your spine.
Repeat the deep breathing and be aware of the number of breaths until you’ve reached 8. You may continue with a few more, but I find that 8 is usually enough to bring things under control.
Try inhaling and exhaling through your nose, but if it's easier you may breathe through your mouth, but either way (or in combination), be slow, deliberate and thoughtful of what you're doing.
► Now, Here’s The Other Part Of The Process
On each inhale, silently think these simple, 2-word expressions, which will be relayed to your subconscious. I’ve suggested an order here, but feel free to mix the expressions around:
Inhale 1: “Inner peace”
Inhale 2: “Inner calm”
Inhale 3: “Spiritual peace”
Inhale 4: “Spiritual calm”
Inhale 5: “Zen peace”
Inhale 6: “Zen calm”
Inhale 7: “Inner zen”
Inhale 8: “Spiritual zen”
You may be wondering, okay, those thoughts are for the inhale, but what should I be thinking about on the exhale? Nothing other than being aware that you are exhaling fully as you pull in your core.
That’s all there is to it.
► Why This Technique Is So Effective:
Now, I said I’d explain why this simple process is so effective in calming the waters. When you are concentrating on taking deep breaths, and counting them, and thinking the 2 word expressions, there is no room left for other thoughts. Your full concentration is taken up and the earlier frustrating, maddening, perhaps infuriating thoughts and impressions are pushed to the side, and are no longer center-stage in your mind.
The more you practice this technique, the more effective it becomes. In the beginning, the things that got you mad may try to intrude, but by gently re-focusing on the deep breathing and the expressions, you will re-center and resume the calming effect.
You may try deeper breathing, if you want, or you may substitute any short expressions of your own to be thinking. Just be sure these are words that connote peace, calm, serenity, tranquility. If you are a religious or spiritual person, you may choose calming words that are consistent with your beliefs.
Lastly, this technique can provide relaxation and restore your balance when other situations arrive - disappointment, anxiety, uncertainty, fear, nervousness before speaking in public or taking an interview, anything that worries you. It’s been working for me and for many others, and I am confident it will work for you.
If you’d like to share your thoughts, feel free to use the Contact form or comment directly in the blog.
By the way, while your concentrating on breathing and thinking a few calming words, you are practicing "living in the moment."That's an important way to better enjoy and experience life, which we'll cover in the next zen self care inspiration blog.
" The sprit of zen embraces inner selfcare as well as physical selfcare. These zen inspirations are to help you bring yourself together and achieve inner calm, spiritual peace.