Inhale for a count of two. Exhale for a count of three. Do this twice (I mean, actually do this, mindfully) and any frustrating comment, difficult conversation, or reactive temptation becomes something you’re totally capable of handling. It’s probably the easiest practice I can think of to release stress. Since our breath is our most accessible tool for inner peace, allow me to inspire you to take two deep breaths before the holidays unravel your good spirit.
“There is an ancient peace you carry in your heart and have not lost.” — A Course in Miracles
It’s amazing how good two deep breaths can feel.
Stressed? Breathe deeply. Happy? Breathe deeply. It doesn’t matter who we are, what we’ve done, where we came from, or where we’re going because deep breathing happens to be something we can all apply regularly for cumulative benefits. How often do you do that, though?
When you do incorporate deep breathing into your stressful moments, what kind of benefit do you notice?
I notice that I’m more capable of handling what comes my way. I’m more connected to what really matters to me and I can see what’s not worth getting upset over (most things aren’t worth it). Taking two deep breaths makes space for me to do what my highest self would do.
Oh, and if you think that breathing isn’t a powerful tool for stress relief, it’s time to practice it on a regular basis. Just saying: I understand.
I’m always thinking of ways to feel more at peace within myself. Still, I tend to underestimate the calm that’s created when I just take a few, good, long, mindful breaths. I forget and remember and forget again that if I’d just become conscious of my inhales and exhales, things might become easier, more clear, and less rigid—most times, that’s exactly what happens.
Lately, I’ve been practicing mindful breathing in the shower, of all places! Hey, anywhere works.In so many stressful situations, conscious breathing is the next right action. Click To Tweet
Let’s make things really easy today. Whenever any of the following three things come up, let’s pause to create just enough space for two mindful breaths:
- We enter a room or conversation.
- We notice judgmental thoughts.
- We feel hurt, annoyed, overwhelmed, offended, or angry.
While you’re inhaling your presence, exhale your tension. Let your thoughts rest—I have total faith that you can keep a quiet mind for two breaths. Think of this short internal pause as a reset button. If it helps, count the numbers in your head while you inhale (one, two) and exhale (one, two, three).
Take two deep breaths before a transition.
Make every transition a moment of deep breathing.
Before you ring the doorbell, take two mindful breaths.
Before you walk into another room, take two mindful breaths.
Before you join a new conversation, take two mindful breaths.
Before you make a decision, take two mindful breaths.
Before you partake in a new activity (ex: a household chore, playing a game, sitting for a meal, opening presents), take two mindful breaths.
Take two deep breaths before you judge.
Make breathing a conscious response to any judgmental thought that pops up in your head. Before you judge or before you continue to judge, make an effort just to be totally mindful of the moment—no past, no future, no opinions, no labels—just the moment.
When you look in the mirror and wish you saw something different, take two mindful breaths.
When you look at someone you love and wish you saw something different, take two mindful breaths.
When you notice a thought that makes you feel better than someone else, take two mindful breaths.
When you notice a thought that makes you feel worse than someone else, take two mindful breaths.
Right in the middle of gossip and strong perceptions, take two mindful breaths.
Take two deep breaths after anything that hurts, annoys, offends, overwhelms, or makes you angry.
What’s outside can only affect what’s inside when we let it, but most times we’re unconsciously opening our doors to what doesn’t feel good. Focusing on your breathing is one way to reconnect with who YOU are, and what you deem worthy of letting in.
When a comment or action gets under your skin, take two mindful breaths.
When you notice an automatic defensiveness rising from within, take two mindful breaths.
When thoughts about “doing it all” cast a shadow on the present moment, take two mindful breaths.
When someone or something or some thought makes you want to be anything other than loving, take two mindful breaths.
When you catch your perceptions leaning towards negativity in any way, take two mindful breaths.
Anticipate an encounter or situation that you’re used to during the holidays. Now, anticipate yourself taking those two deep breaths before you do, think, or say anything (in response to that potentially hurtful, annoying, stressful, or maddening moment). How would you like to feel after those breaths? How would you like to BE?
Please share your thoughts, helpful insights, tools or practices that help you deal with holiday stress in a healthy way, and any inspiring stories of inner peace amidst chaos. Share in the comments, or send me an email if you’re reading this in your inbox. (Thanks for signing up!)
Spread peace on earth for real this season; send this post to someone you love, care about, and want to inspire today.
Bring your own energy. Be your own example.