Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the challenges that take up your time on a day-to-day basis? Do you like the idea of implementing a few coping strategies to deal with daily stressors, but never really motivate yourself to actually do anything? People often comment that they just don’t have the time or are too busy taking care of others to focus on self-care. Maybe it is simply a matter of “I resist” because of so many other responsibilities.
I’m asking you to consider incorporating a very quick, easy-touse coping strategy. It doesn’t matter where you are; you can begin by letting yourself breathe deeper a few times throughout your day. It really is easier than what you may think and doesn’t cost anything. You could decide to take 8 or 10 full, deep breaths while at your workplace, walking, taking a shower, or while reading this article.
Go ahead! Let yourself breathe. If you wish, place your hand on your belly to help you stay focused. Take a full, comfortable breath for 3 seconds….hold the breath for a moment…and then exhale about 6 seconds. Think of a word or phrase such as “calm” as you breathe. Your mind-body naturally benefits and when you allow yourself to stay with it for as little as 3 minutes. The relaxation response is triggered. Science tells us that the relaxation response, a term coined by Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute, reverses physical symptoms of the fight or flight stress response.
Build upon the habit of focused breathing. Your breath can naturally slow after a few cleansing breaths. Over time, the goal is to allow yourself to build a foundation of quiet time/meditation so that you can eventually do this for 10-20 minutes before starting your day. You can begin the process with eyes open or closed. If eyes are open, find an object or picture to use as a focal point. If possible, do this at the same time and place daily. Your subconscious mind picks up the pattern and you will find it easier to drift into a quiet, centered state.
Daily practice can build your confidence. You really do have the innate ability to cope with daily stressors. Let yourself take these simple baby steps that can eventually lead to positive self-care.