It’s your breath! Yes, it’s that simple. We overlook the power of our breath; we just don’t notice it’s powerful effect on the rest of our body. With thought, perhaps you can realise that when your anxious your breath is much faster and shallow. Conversely, when you are relaxed your breath is much slower and deeper. The effect of these two breathing ‘styles’ will be explained in subsequent posts, however, for now just know you can calm yourself simply by using your breath.
You can step out of automatic pilot and into your natural resilience, providing some ‘breathing space’ in the present moment simply by following these steps, indicated by the word ‘STOP”:
Stop and take stock: Check what is my experience right now?
What am I thinking (saying to yourself, what images are coming to mind)
What am I feeling (enjoying, neutral, upset, excited, sad, mad etc)
What sensations (present-moment sensations, tightness, lightness)
Register and acknowledge your experience even if it is uncomfortable.
Take a breath:
Gently direct full attention to each inbreath and outbreath – bringing you into the present and helping you tune into a state of awareness and stillness.
Expand your field of awareness around and beyond your breathing so that it includes a sense of the body as a whole, your posture, facial expression, then further outward to what is happening around you – sights, sounds, smells, etc.
Let your attention now move into the world around you, letting yourself naturally respond to the situation you are in, curious and open to whatever happens next.
Dave Potter – www.palousemindfulness.com