Photo by Magna Ehlers
Do you ever feel like you simply can’t do or take anymore? Feel so overwhelmed that you want to just hide away? The good news is that you’re not alone and this means there is answers and out there.
First things first. Take a deep breath! And don’t try and tell me that you don’t have time for that. I know that I have been guilty of this. Someone suggests, “just take a moment and breathe” and my internal response was something along the lines of “did you not hear what I said? I don’t have time, I don’t have time to do what I already have on my schedule, so please don’t ask me to stop and do something else”. When I hear myself saying this, that I don’t have time to stop and breathe, it feels a little ridiculous and scary. What am I doing, that I don’t have time to take a breath? Or is it that I am just not seeing that I do actually have time to do that? Seriously, how long would it take? Half a second, one second, perhaps a few seconds, if it’s a long one. Ok, so maybe I do have time.
And then what? Perhaps there is room for a little more oxygen to enter my brain and then perhaps I have a bit of space to reflect? Of course, there is no point trying to tell someone who is feeling overwhelmed to start a new routine or add anything extra to their schedule. This will simply add to the overwhelm, however, we can be reminded that one of the things we do all day, every day, can be particularly helpful, if we do it a little more mindfully, purposefully, for a few moments, each day. That is to BREATHE. I know, it sounds simple, so simple perhaps that we don’t give it much credit. The truth is that if we can take a few moments to breathe more mindfully that will set us up towards feeling more able to address some of the overwhelm.
What do I mean by “breathing more mindfully”? There are a variety of ways to do this, but the basic concept is to focus your attention on your breath, rather than the incomprehensible number of tasks you have to do or what is currently going on around you.
To begin with, let’s give it a go for just a few moments. Breathing in, through the nose if you can, and breathing out, through the nose. And again, this time pay attention to where you feel the breath most. Is it your nostrils, the skin on your upper lip, your chest or belly rising and dropping? And, one more time. Do you notice the same part of your body, or somewhere different? Can you release some of the tension in your shoulders, jaw and brow as you exhale? There you go, you did it!!! You just completed 3 mindful breaths. Over time you may want to increase it. Of course the more you do, the more benefit you’ll receive.
Breathing is something we do all day every day, however, we usually just take it for granted and do it for pure survival. I am suggesting you increase the depth and intention of your breath. There are a variety of ways you can breathe more intentionally and mindfully to reduce stress, improve coping strategies and increase relaxation.
I believe this is an integral part of our health and wellness. It is a magical gift we have available to us at any time, in any environment and most of us don’t tap into it enough. It is also a fundamental aspect of healthy relationships, particularly when you are facing challenging times.
To have the ability to ‘stop and breathe’, before you react or respond, can change the outcomes exponentially. It can make the difference between an open, safe, authentic conversation with desirable results and an ugly explosion, leaving everyone involved feeling miserable, frustrated and angry.
I know which way I would prefer my conversations to go, though I wasn’t always able to do this before I learnt and practised breathing more mindfully and intentionally. Not to say that every conversation I have goes smoothly, and I don’t always remember to breathe, however, I know when I do, those difficult conversations are much more productive. That’s why I include mindful breathing practice in all of my coaching, counselling and programs.
Are you a parent/carer of an LGBT+ person and ready to ditch the overwhelm? Click here to send me a message so that we can arrange a chat about how I can help you.
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