In today’s rapidly changing world, it is often a real challenge to feel safe, secure or loved. With rising unemployment rates, global crises, and the disappointments that relationships often bring it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Often, in such difficult times, our relationships feel the stress even before we realize what has happened. There are several ways you may want to explore to help you bring balance and stability into your stress filled days. Here are 3 simple ways to start…
1. Pay attention to your breathing. I know it may seem like a very obvious thing to do, but paying real attention to your breathing is one of the fastest and most direct ways to remove tension. When we are in a tense situation, whether it’s sitting in a traffic jam or getting ready for a job interview, we have a tendency to take shallow breaths and this causes our body to assume there is a real danger approaching (remember, our bodies are still set on “fight or flight” responses and if you aren’t moving the rest of your body, it will assume that you are not “fleeing” and it will prepare to “fight”. This is one of the prime motivators behind road and air rage). The minute you see a potentially tense situation ahead, slow down. Take a deep cleansing breath: in through the nose and out through the mouth. Do this 3 times. That’s all it takes. It reroutes all the active adrenaline components and returns you almost immediately to your resting state in mind and body.
2. Take time to play. When was the last time you flew a kite? Or just laid down in the grass and watched the clouds? There are so many very simple pleasures that the “grown up” world has forced us to leave behind! These sweet (and often free) things are so very good for the soul. Personally, I always carry several small bottles of bubbles with me. Whenever I see some people who are appearing sad or tense, I take out one of these little bottles and begin to blow a few bubbles their direction. It is wonderful to watch these very tense “grown ups” become children in just one moment as they watch these tiny, multi-colored orbs drift in their direction! When I lived near a big city and had to deal with traffic, I would have a big bottle of bubbles in my truck. During the worst of a hot and miserable traffic jam, I would roll down the windows and set free a bunch of bubbles. It was no time at all before the kids in the neighboring cars were pointing and laughing and the parents took as sigh of relief. It really is the power of joy that can turn any situation around.
3. Turn off your television. Dedicate at least one evening to not touching the tube. You would be shocked if you really noted how much time goes into being “programmed” by your television. Take some time to gather your OWN thoughts about important subjects of the day. Read a book. Talk to your family or friends. Play a board game. There are so many things that can be done instead of “plugging in” every night. When you don’t have fear and consumption being yelled at you every 10 minutes from that box in the living room, you will have a noticeably calmer evening.