A 3 Step Process to use Mindfulness and Deep Breathing to De-stress and Disengage from the Drama of the World - by Jeannine Proulx
The car in front of you just cut you off and sped away, almost running you and the car next to you off the road. The driver in the car next to you laid on the horn in response and made more than a few hand gestures.
Later that day, your friend calls in distress. Her boyfriend once again cheated on her, or at least she thinks he did. She isn’t sure and needs to talk for hours and hours in a high pitched whine about what he has done, hasn’t done, or might just do.
That evening, your two year old, who has up until this point been a model child, decides the terrible twos are going to be his thing—right in the middle of the grocery store as you are standing there with a full cart and an empty fridge at home.
What do you do?
What do you normally do? Do you yell at the driver, cry at the thought? Do you tell your friend a thousand ways in which she is better than this, spend most of your day worrying about her, stressing, fixing? Do you continue listening to her, even when she refuses to listen to you? Do you yell at your toddler, run through the store with a horror look on your face, toddler under your arm like a sack of screaming potatoes, cart in tow, tears running down your face in your hurry to escape public embarrassment?
Or do you use a tool you have at your disposal each and every moment of each and every day?
Breathing is life. It is our body’s way of keeping us alive. It is our signal to the world that we are alive. When we are stressed out oftentimes we stop breathing. We hold our breath. It is a part of the flight or flee response needed for survival.
Taking three simple breathes during times of fight or flight, we can pull ourselves back into our bodies, our lives, out of stress, and into calm.
1. With the first breathe we stop, we stop holding our breath. By doing this we are saying to our bodies “I am not in fight or flight. I am not in danger. I am alive.”
2. With a second big deep breath, we give ourselves just a moment to stop our automatic reaction to the crisis or drama happening around us. Our first instant reaction to stress is usually the way we learned how to cope as a child. Taking a second breath, we can become aware that our first reaction is usually an old coping response mechanism. By stopping to breathe before we react, we give ourselves time to think and choose.
3. With the third deep breath we take back control of our automatic fight or flight and we say “I choose to respond differently. I choose my life. I choose.”
With choice we are saying to our bodies and minds that we are not in crisis. We are not in the drama. We are not in danger. We can then move into a calmer state of mind, a clearer state of mind, in which we are more likely to make better, more rational, and balanced decisions.
We can do this breathing while the crisis is still ongoing! We can do it while staring at our two year old in aisle three. We can pull over in a parking lot or do it at a stop sign. We can put the phone away from our ear for a minute and just breathe. It is available wherever and whenever we need it.
This simple process can be done anywhere with anyone.
Our lives are filled with OPD = Other People’s Drama. Each day we are bombarded with it. From drivers on the road, to family, friends, toddlers, teens, and even the news; our lives are filled with other people’s drama. Taking back control of our automatic stress reaction to other people’s emotions, actions, and screaming sounds allows us to move into a better, more mindful frame of mind and life a happier life.
OPD is other people’s drama. It is not ours. We do not have to own it or take it personally. We can choose to stop our automatic reaction to it and move into a space that is our own—filled with the feelings, beliefs, opinions, and reactions we choose to have to the world around us. And when you are in a better space, the world is a better place!
The Feel Stress Free app from Thrive helps us to become aware of those moments that trigger us into fight or flee stress. Once you identify the stress times you can use their tools like Calm Breathing, Meditation, and even a Zen Garden to bring yourself back to a centered and relaxed state. It also makes looking at your phone a de-stress tool instead of a stressful one!
We make the best decisions when in a balanced stress-free state of mind. Learning how to bring ourselves to that place of calm confidence, no matter what other drama is going around us, is an invaluable tool for healthy living and creating more mindful moments in our lives!
Jeannine Proulx is the founder of MindfulnessMothers.com. A conscious creative genius at heart, she works with those seeking for personal transformation with her work as an author and Possibility Life Coach, coaching clients worldwide. She is the Mindfulness Expert for Inspired Parenting Magazine, presenting to Head Start parents and teachers self-care kits and workshops. She feels her life purpose is helping those find the calm in the chaos and the possibility in each moment.
You can read more of her work and sign up for a complimentary meditation that frees you from the to-do lists of thinking that can take over our worlds at: www.mindfulnessmothers.com or www.aworldofpossibility.com