Would you say that your daily experience is comprised of more Chaos, or Calm?
Do you have more stressful minutes, or peaceful minutes throughout your day?
Do you find yourself living intentionally, mindfully and consciously, or merely existing, pushing through another 24 hours at a time?
Do you struggle with stress related issues? Headaches, knots in your back, irritation, burnout, impatience, poor relationships?
Is your organization experiencing high turnover, lack of employee satisfaction, low moral, poor outcomes, break down in communication and trust?
Before you read any further, stop, take a couple of deep breaths, become aware of your breath entering and exiting the body, slow down just a bit, and then, join me.
I want to teach you the most powerful, effective and efficient method for reducing stress and offering a return to calm quickly. And, it is free.
In the silence, in the space between your inhale and your exhale, you will notice that you are transitioning from Chaos to Calm. Continue breathing with awareness and peace will slowly arrive.
But once the state of stress re-enters the body/mind, peace becomes illusive.
I have worked with organizational and private clients of all ages who, using their breath, come to a place of silence for the first time in their conscious memory, during my workshops, or in my office.Chaos and calm cannot coexist. It is one or the other.Chaos and calm cannot coexist. It is one or the other. Click To Tweet
And, you, get to choose.
We begin each session in a moment of silence as we gather our’selves’ in from the outside world.
The stress in our organizational cultures and individual lives is rampant today.
Trauma, secondary trauma, pain, anxiety, depression, loneliness; those feelings of not good enough, right enough, young enough, thin enough, tan enough, rich enough pull us into the belief that our only option is to remain in this toxic, chaotic energetic state. This state itself takes over our mind.
We can allow chaos to debilitate our body and mind all the way to the ER, or we can see it as an opportunity for transformation. We have the power to travel from chaos, back to our natural state; a state of Calm; a state of love. We may just need a little help along the way.
We are going to learn to use our breath to transform stress and trauma into power and purpose; to make the transition From Chaos to Calm. For your entire organization, for your clients, and for you.
The world health organization has called stress a worldwide epidemic.
75 to 90% of all sick leave and visits to physicians are for stress related conditions and it is reported that we pay $300 billion a year in job related stress costs.
We know from recent research in neuroscience that stress occurs whenever there’s a significant change in your mind, body or environment. This can be positive or negative.
Let’s face it, as first responders in child welfare, law enforcement, mental health, education and the criminal justice systems; and as foster and adoptive parents, the majority of our waking hours will include some stress.
So how do we take this stressful life of ours and create a container of peace?
We know it can’t be done through intellect only; we cannot simply think our way out of stress because when we are under stress everything is involved, our emotions, our body, our mind and spirit. Our way out must also be of a body, mind and spirit nature. Our choices for healing must include the whole being.
We can learn how to step aside from the chaos and drama of trauma with an accepting and pivoting movement. We can learn how to be deeply centered and to see the bigger picture, the needs and wants of each of us, so that we can move to higher ground where true or solutions can be found.
Only when you learn to use your breath as a vehicle for remaining fully aware and living in the present moment, will you find the energy needed to dance with life. The option; life sucks you dry.
Conscious, Intentional and Purposeful is the goal.
We create the next moment of our lives by designing this current moment intentionally.
You have the power to create mindful and purposeful experiences throughout your day.
You can begin by setting a timer for every hour of your waking day and spending one minute in deep breathing.
As you inhale, say breath in. As you exhale, say breath out.
Breath in and breath out will come to replace the frenzied thoughts that typically fill our minds.
Each morning might start with meditation or prayer.
Each day there should be stretching and exercises which center us and make us feel awake, alive, energized, excited, and ready for life. Ready to take on even bigger challenges.
Sitting in a cubicle or behind a desk 12 hours a day will not get you there.
But this is not an article or a conversation about tips. Simply giving people advice won’t do it. We are constantly being filled up with tips everywhere from friends, social media, and a barrage of TV commercials trying to sell us something to make us feel better. We have become numb to the possibility that sustained fulfillment is a possible reality; and if it is, we must need some source outside of ourselves to get there.
Without practice, without integration into your daily lives nothing will change. This is up to you, no one else.
Using the free, effective, always available practice of deep breathing provides us with what science says is critical in dealing with stressful situations. A sense of control about how we respond to the stress in our lives comes simply through using the depth of our breath, our life force, our centering exercise.
As simple as using breath might seem please be reminded that simplicity does not mean superficial nor does it mean instant success. Simply because I learn the skill of utilizing my life force, my breath, does not mean that beginning in this moment the rest of my life rolls out in simplicity.
Being present focused and intentional is required.
Using our breath is an amazing strategy that will help us seek higher ground, focus on mind, body and spirit and be the best that we can be as we come to work in this trauma laden system.
On behalf of the beautiful transformation of one of my clients, a self-centered, task oriented, type A man who’s tunnel vision had blocked the bigger picture of life, love, family and relationship, but who is now living in calm and joy, I offer to you the possibility of your own transformation through the power of your breath. You will like yourself better and everyone you come into contact with will like you better too!
So, let’s do this!
You can do this now, alone; you can print this out and take it into your next team meeting; you can do this at the dinner table before you eat. You will benefit from doing this throughout your day, and certainly prior to sleep.
To begin, simply relax and notice your breathing. Put your hands on your belly watch and feel it come alive. In your natural state you breathe deeply from this area. Don’t think about it, feel it.
Most people breathe very shallow from the chest. Notice the process without doing anything about it yet. It’s like watching the ebb and flow, or gentle waves on the beach.
Breathe through your nose. Slow and deepen your breath.
Listen and follow the internal sound made as you breathe.
Notice how you feel. Simply breathe for one minute. It’s just one minute.
Notice how you feel. This is the beginning of using centering breath.
Now as you inhale, say ‘breath in’ to yourself; and as you exhale, say ‘breath out’.
‘Breath in, breath out’ will replace the other, more stressful thoughts and bring you back to this present moment.
This is the practice that begins to allow for a more mindful experience in life; that keeps us here and now.
You see, this simple technique brings vital oxygen to every part of your lungs and particularly the lower lobes of the lungs were the oxygen to blood transfer is most efficient.
You can bring balance and health to your entire nervous system through your breath. Continue for one more minute with full attention to the centering breath. Breath in and breath out.
What do you notice in your senses about the environment that is different now than before we began to breathe?
Centering breath is not just physical, it is also mental, bringing greater awareness and mindfulness.
When we are centered we don’t feel as much pressure. We are mindful of everything around us, the positive and negative. Our feelings deepen. We create a higher vibration. We become intentional, purposeful and conscious. We are now directing our decisions instead of the chaotic environment pushing us around.
Yes, it is this easy to begin.
In this state our racing thoughts slow. Our frantic bodies become grounded. We become captivated by the revelation that we are truly an integral part of the world, not separate from it.
This, all of this, begins with breath.
We are all blessed with an autonomic nervous system, those involuntary systems that keep our heart beating, our lungs breathing, our eyes blinking, our stomach digesting. The autonomic nervous system is made up of two complementary systems. One, is that all too familiar, fight flight or freeze system, and the other is the rest and digest system.
It takes hundreds upon hundreds of bio chemical and neurological reaction’s to give us the endurance, strength and power necessary for fight flight or freeze.
It is an exhausting state. Imagine living there. Consider our kids and the parents raising them.
The rest and digest system is turned on in an effort to restore, rebuild and rejuvenate. When one of the nervous systems is turned on, the other starts shutting down.
But, full recovery is possible once we become intentional about it.
And only, as we become intentional about it and practice it can we teach it to others, our children, their parents, our staff.
The part of the human brain that headquarters the autonomic nervous system has not evolved enough to make a distinction between death by a sabertooth tiger and the death that we imagine with our thoughts. When we repeat thoughts in fearful language like, ‘I’m finished’, or ‘it’s all over’, or ‘I’m dead now’, or ‘life couldn’t get any worse’, the red alert is switched on and we are in fight or flight.
In this state we may look angry, we may perspire, we may run, our eyes dilate, the sphincter and anus lock, which by the way is a good thing, our heart races and hormones flood into the bloodstream preparing us to defend, to fight for survival, to fight, flight or freeze. This is what our body does, unconsciously.
When we have one red alert after another throughout our day and do not intentionally build in the rest and digest experience our mind body spirit becomes accustomed to living at this level. And then, we live on Red alert. We have headaches and stomachaches, our energy is drained, our relationships suffer and our children recognize we don’t have time.
The problem isn’t the stress. Stress just is. Stress will occur anytime there’s a significant change mentally, physically, spiritually or environmentally. Stress is a part of our daily life, the river of change. And in the macrosystem in which most of us work, stress is the norm.
The problem is that we lack the balance between this fight or flight system as a response to stress and adding in the rest and digest system to restore and rejuvenate.
We have become accustomed to living in red alert.
I invite you to become accustomed to living and working (yes, even in our system) centered instead.
The autonomic nervous system, for the most part, is involuntary.
This means that it operates without your conscious involvement, until you become consciously involved.
Once the autonomic nervous system is engaged it operates without your conscious involvement. Your blood pressure will rise, you will begin to perspire.
But, breathing is both voluntary and involuntary. Therefore choosing deep, centering breaths is the most powerful way we can consciously and easily affect the autonomic nervous system.
Using your breath provides you with a conscious choice. It enables you to respond appropriately and mindfully rather than to react in a knee-jerk impulsive fight or flight manner when life doesn’t go the way you want it to. Whenever you use the centering breath you consciously bring balance and well-being back.
Life doesn’t make you crazy. You choose that state. It’s time to change the choice.
The number one concern I hear from audiences and clients around the world is that they don’t have time for mindfulness, meditation and centering. Life is too busy. There are too many kids and too much to do.
I offer to you that breathing does not take any more of your time, you’re doing it anyway. Let’s do it with intention and use it to bring restoration.
When you are calm and more present you actually save time. You make better decisions, you remain connected and attuned and you can organize your thoughts even in difficult situations.
If you don’t think you have time to use your breathing to bring you to rest and digest throughout your day, let me offer to you a few examples of how I squeeze this into my busy days;
Three deep breath’s before I put my feet on the ground each morning.
Three deep breath as I finish brushing my teeth.
Three deep breath’s at every red light.
Remember how stressful red lights used to be? How many moments do you think you have spent at red lights throughout your life? Imagine if all of those moments were filled with three deep centering breaths.
You will begin to notice cynicism disappearing breath by breath.
Focus on breathing in energy and exhaling tension.
With every breath in feel all of the energy you need entering your body. And with every breath out let go of tension. I visualize a waterfall running freely through my body releasing any toxicity.
The more centered we become the more compassion we have for others. Compassion is needed in our line of work; compassion for clients, our peers, and ourselves.
As we become more mindful, we begin to realize that we are all much more alike than we are different in the end. Having become more centered and mindful increases our compassion and kindness for one another. Imagine a more compassionate and kind world starting with one breath.
My advice is simple. Breathe intentionally, mindfully and consciously.
Practice it every day, all day. Create as many cues for yourself as you can, red lights, brushing your teeth, each time you go to the bathroom, each time the phone rings before you answer it. On the inhale, you take in balance and energy, on the exhale you release tension by connecting fully to the present moment.
As you practice deep breathing and you will begin to calm the great storms which are causing your suffering. One is the storm of your mind and the other is the turbulence of your body. Breath in and calm them both. When the storms subside your spirit soars.
Unity and One Love~