Refresh, Refocus, and Renew Your Mind and Spirit This Year
Have you been feeling anxious lately? Unmotivated? Irritable? Or uncharacteristically negative? If the answer is yes, then it is time to focus attention on your emotional and spiritual wellness. The Mind/Body Connection is an important tenet of SEEDS®, which focuses on the seven basic essentials that impact your daily (and future!) health, and, when practiced, promote a better quality of life.
Meditation, metered breathing, and yoga are all exercises that influence the Mind/Body Connection to relax, reenergize, and revive our sense of optimism and spirit. Metered breathing, in particular, is a practice that gets you back into your body and turns off the body’s stress “fight or flight” response. Once this automatic response is turned off, the more rational parts of your brain can take over to stop you from overreacting and to help you remain calm. Practicing gratitude and metered breathing daily will refocus your thoughts away from irritation and will help you to break the cycle of anxiety and negativity.
“I will not just tolerate my life; I will live my life to its potential” – Dr. Diana Bitner
Metered Breathing Step-by-Step Guide
- Be intentional about what you want. For example, you might say to yourself that you want to refocus your thoughts away from irritation and anxiety.
- Find a quiet place to sit comfortably and start thinking about what makes you feel deep gratitude. Thinking of a word or theme can help to set the tone for your breathing exercise as well as your day.
- Relax your body, close your mouth, and take a deep, cleansing breath through your nose.
- Open your eyes, and focus them on a single spot close by.
- Breathe normally through your nose as you focus for several minutes. Concentrate on the sound of your breath.
- If you lose focus, try re-centering your thoughts by practicing gratitude again, and then without judgment, go back to breathing.
The goal is to practice metered breathing for five minutes twice a day. Once you get practiced in this exercise, you can use metered breathing as a tool before stressful events throughout your day, such as an important meeting or, perhaps, a confrontation with a coworker, friend, or family member.
Metered Breathing and Hot Flashes
Did you know that Metered Breathing is a technique that can also help with hot flashes? As you regulate your breath and thoughts through Metered Breathing, your body is able to relax and maintain a wider thermo-neutral zone. This helps to settle your internal thermostat so that it will not be as sensitive to slight changes in temperature, thereby decreasing the likelihood of experiencing hot flashes.
Metered Breathing and Insomnia
Waking up in the middle of the night can be frustrating, but tossing and turning in bed will not help you to get back to sleep. Instead of feeling restless and anxious about not sleeping, move to a quiet place and try practicing Metered Breathing. This technique can help to calm your mind, which, in turn, can help you to feel sleepy again. No more racing thoughts! (Bonus tip: Watch an episode of Let’s Chat with Dr. Bitner about how to make peace with sleep.)
Mental Health IS Health
We cannot always change the stress of our environment, but we can change how our body physically responds to stress throughout the day. Practicing mindfulness techniques such as metered breathing and gratitude meditations can be helpful coping strategies to refocus your thoughts away from anxiety and renew your daily optimism.
Our mental health affects our physical health, and there is no place for shame in mental struggles or illness. You are not alone! If you’re struggling to cope with daily stressors, reach out to our counselors, Ashley Wildman and Mary Jo Baweja. We also highly recommend the organization i understand and its incredible resources too. We are here to help you no matter where you are on your health journey!
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” Brené Brown