Last week my brain was spinning out of control. Countless fragmented ideas flew around in my head, all madly vying for attention.
If I wasn’t working, I was thinking about things I want to create, ideas I want to put in motion and content I want to write. But I couldn’t seem to grab onto any specific idea long enough to really examine it.
It was kind of overwhelming.
When things get chaotic it’s easy to start breathing shallowly without even realizing it. Which can lead to tensing up and becoming anxious. Which makes it harder to slow down, breathe deeply, gather your thoughts and stay calm.
Kind of a catch-22.
And then I remembered a recent call with a dear friend who reminded me how important it is to BREATHE. Just breathe.
And that really is the answer to so much. When you breathe deeply, you slow your heart rate and calm yourself down. You’re much more able to clear your mind and refocus your thoughts.
Here are a few tips to help bring you back to center:
1. Get horizontal.
Lie down and close your eyes. (This assumes you’re in an environment where you can reasonably do this – if you’re in public, you may want to skip directly to Step 3).
2. Tighten and then relax your muscles.
Tense every muscle in your body to the extent you can, including the ones in your fingers, toes and face. Do this consciously. Hold all that tension for a few moments.
Then, slooooowly relax all the areas that are tensed up, working your way consciously through your body. Release the tension in your fingers, for example, then move on to your palms, and so on. Letting go of all the physical tension feels amazing, and by the time you’ve done it, you’re ready for step 3.
Take a deep breath in through your nose, imagining the breath filling every part of your body, even your toes. Allow it to expand your abdomen (don’t suck in your gut on the inhale). Hold it for 5-10 seconds if possible. Then slowly and deeply exhale, tightening your abs towards the end of the exhale to help push out “stale” air. Do this as many times as it takes for you to feel calm and centered.
Ahhh….. now you’ll be able to view things from a clearer perspective.
How about you – do you have any tried-and-true relaxation tips?