By Kate Ellis,ccht
You are running late, negotiating traffic, it slows to a crawl and time is ticking, people are waiting for you. Other drivers all of a sudden become idiots who can’t drive. Your phone is dead, no way to inform you are in route. As the moments that feel like hours tick by, you are becoming more and more irate, thinking others will be annoyed, inconvenienced or perhaps even angry with you, your thoughts are racing, blood pressure increasing and you’re getting angrier.
Finally your realize there is no getting around this. You are late. There is nothing you can do about it. And then the most extraordinary things happens upon this realization, your body sighs deeply. A new thought arises, deciding what you are going to do once you arrive at your destination, and feel more in control.
The sigh is your personal calming mechanism gifted to you by mom and nature. Yes, mom. When you were an infant and fussing to sleep, mom would sooth you at first, perhaps sing a song, rock you in her arms until you drifted into sleep. A few months later, as you fussed to sleep, mom would let you fuss, cry for a while, allowing you to find your own comfort zone, calmness, and you now have the tools to fall asleep. If you ever watched a baby discovering the comfort zone, you would observe it taking a deep breath, then drifting off to sleep.
We all have this innate ability to calm and center ourselves, more often than not, you do not even realize you are doing it. By consciously utilizing the body sigh, you are able to calm and center yourself within 3-5 deep breathes.
I call this the “Reset Button” technique. Mindfully become aware of any tension in your jaw, shoulders and stomach or lower back, and release it. Move your jaw side to side, raise your shoulders towards your ears and let them drop, let your belly relax, then inhale through the nose, pause a moment or two, then release either through the nose or mouth twice as slowly as your inhalation, repeat 3-5 times.
The benefits of practicing this are multifaceted: Relaxing the muscles allows you to release any emotions your are holding onto. The deep breath delivers nutrient rich oxygen to the brain allowing it to clear thinking for a moment, which then allows you to choose what thoughts you focus upon. You can do this anywhere, anytime, whether sitting, standing, lying down. Most importantly, it delivers you back to your center, you gain control of your mind and what you choose to focus on and release stress and anxiety. You are the Master of your Mind, Ruler of your Body.