Take a breath and a beat!
Whenever I’ve said that to my children (or to myself), it was an invitation to pause for a moment. To take a deep breath in order to circulate fresh oxygen (and hopefully a new perspective)! And taking a beat was encouragement to stop for a moment to relax. Taking time to pause and think about what we were doing or feeling.
Deep, Relaxing Breaths
Taking a deep breath has the added benefit of allowing you to notice areas of tension in your body (and hopefully, to release that tension).
It enables you to recognize if you are breathing rapidly and shallowly (also known as “chest breathing”) or worse, holding your breath!
Extending that moment of calm with a few more deep breaths (inhaling slowly and deeply through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth, with pursed lips), allows you to shift gears from “chest breathing” (which signals a stress response) to “abdominal breathing.” Abdominal breathing (also known as deep, relaxing breaths), continues the pattern of slowing down… and calming down.
Interrupt the Anxiety Loop
When we take a breath and a beat, we interrupt the loop of anxiety, tension, worry, upset, anger or concern. This allows us to move from the view in the trenches—which can be stressful and hectic, to a more expansive and centered view of our current situation and circumstances. Whatever they may be.
With updates on the coronavirus pandemic going from concerning to more worrying by the minute, feelings of anxiety are understandable. Social distancing and remote learning are in full swing and as event cancellations continue, we can find ourselves more fearful than usual. But we shouldn’t allow that anxiety to overwhelm us.
Taking a breath and a beat allows us to momentarily calm our fears, and to move forward by coping with this “new normal” based on the facts.