The Best Advice.
I don't know where I heard it first, I don't remember the voice or text that told me,"Just keep breathing." All I know is, it is the most repeated phrase in my mind.
When I was a child my sister pointed out that I "breathed funny" and showed me some breathing exercises, I took her advice and tried them every night before I went to sleep.
Just focusing on your breath for a couple minutes a day makes such a difference in managing stress. Here's how you do it:
Breathe in through your nose. Let your belly fill with air.
Breathe out through your nose.
Place one hand on your belly. ... As you breathe in, feel your belly rise. ...
Take three more full, deep breaths.
I have a few preferences, but I like to remain flexible:
Sometimes, laying on the floor is very necessary.
If I am seated, I like to have both feet planted firmly on the ground.
I always place one hand on my belly, to remain aware of the depth of my breath.
The most effective addition to my practice is using a Worry Stone.
Worry stones date back to Mesopotamian times and even Native American tribes. Believed to be found in bodies of water; the smooth, oval stone lend anxiety relief when rubbed between the thumb and forefinger or held in the palm of the hand. It stimulates numerous nerve endings, which release endorphins creating a euphoric feeling.
I carry a tiger's eye worry stone in my pocket. When I feel myself falling into any negative self talk or overthinking, I hold my worry stone between my forefingers and thumb and relish in the smooth, cool texture of the stone. I then immerse myself in the weight of the stone as I weave it through my fingers. Weaving while I breathe in, weaving as I exhale, just breathing and feeling.
Tiger's eye is a great stone to use because it transforms toxic feelings into confidence and courage. It has a stabilizing energy which helps in feeling centered and grounded.
This only takes a couple minutes, sometimes even seconds. I do it while waiting for traffic light changes, during walks/ my daily run, sitting at my desk, and my entire subway ride.
This practice helps me remain focused on the now, making room for ideas to flow, creating the energy for action.
If you're finding yourself in a headspace that does not facilitate flow, remember to start with just breathing.