There are many breathing techniques for relaxation. Here’s a sequence I’ve been using lately.
- Breathe – Breathe deeply focusing on the physical sensation of air flowing into you and back out. Take 3-7 breaths.
- Appreciate – Think of something you are grateful for in your life. Continue taking deep breaths as you appreciate why you are grateful.
- Smile – Smile as broadly as you can while continuing to breathe deeply. Focus on the physical feeling of your smile.
- Forgive – Forgive yourself for being stressed and also for letting the stress go.
- Repeat – Repeat as many times as necessary until you feel peaceful and calm.
I passed a car accident this week that made me frightened for those involved and aware of something important. I talk a lot about gratitude. Sometimes we can direct our gratitude toward the remarkable moments in our lives. But there are many mundane experiences we can too easily take for granted.
Here are some things I’ve taken for granted lately and am making an extra effort to appreciate and feel grateful for:
- Fragility of life
- Food in the supermarket
We live in an extraordinary time. In many ways the most mundane things are the most extraordinary. We can all stop taking things for granted. What would be on your list of mundane things to stop taking for granted?
Why are some people calmer and more at peace? What’s their secret?
If you are looking for an epiphany that could help you be one of those people you are going to be looking for a long time.
Peacefulness is a way of life, a set of practices that train your brain to be calm. It takes commitment and discipline, but it is worth it. Here are just a handful of ideas for setting up a process for bringing peacefulness to your life.
- Read Right
- Be Grateful
- Practice Breathing
- Go for Walks
We spend a lot of time pursuing:
Research repeatedly tells us that happiness is built from pursuing:
- Helping Others
- Peacefulness (e.g., Meditation)
- Spending Time in Nature
- Being with Friends and Family
The US holiday of Thanksgiving is tomorrow. For those celebrating, happy Thanksgiving.
Celebrating or not, I spend a lot of time talking to audiences about the power of gratitude. Some of my coaching clients keep gratitude journals and tell me it has changed their lives.
Why? Actually, research has shown that regularly practicing gratitude leads to better physical health, better sleep, more exercise, more optimism, and more willingness to help other people.
So let’s practice some gratitude today. I’m thankful
- For my mom for driving 2 1/2 hours to bring me medicine when I threw my back out recently.
- For my kids for their endless ability to laugh, love, and forgive.
- For my coaching clients for their trust in me.
- For my new neighbors for welcoming us so warmly.
- For my in-laws for baby-sitting so often with never a complaint.
- For my wife for being so appreciative of what I do for the her and my family, even when I wish I could be doing more.
What about you? What are you thankful for?
On this, the day before Thanksgiving, it seems fitting to consider the good fortune we have experienced. In preparing today’s post I searched for the term lucky in this blog. It brought up posts I’ve written about privileges we take for granted, benefits of gratitude, and tragedies most of us only witness on TV.
We all have much to be grateful for. Sometimes we simply forget to take the time to notice.
Here’s an activity I do with my coaching clients and some of the groups I consult with.
I’m going to give you the beginning of a sentence. Then we will take turns completing the sentence. You aren’t allowed to skip your turn. And you must say the entire sentence, not just your add on piece. Here’s the beginning of the sentence:
I am so unbelievably lucky because . . .
I’ll go first.
I am so unbelievably lucky because I get to spend Thanksgiving with loving and caring family members.
Now it’s your turn.
My daily Google alert yesterday led me to this nice blog post by Katie Krueger about Be the Hero. When I read down further I found the author’s gratitude lists worth exploring.
Her blog is essentially an ongoing gratitude journal. I like the concept.
I met someone a couple weeks ago who told me gratitude saved her life. She lost her first child during childbirth. For the next year she forced herself to write down 10 things every day she was grateful for. She said that act saved her.
Today I am grateful that
- My friend Maria who had a seizure on Wednesday was back to her normal, laughing, happy self on Thursday
- My father’s horrible back pains have almost completely subsided
- My in-laws are among the most generous people I’ve ever known
- NPR provides free podcasts of Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me and The Brian Lehrer Show
- I got to see my daughters this morning and listen to them be goofy before I head off for another trip today
- Readers like Katie Krueger have spread the word about Be the Hero
- I get to speak at my first commencement tomorrow
- Skype lets me see my family while I travel
- On my way to Brandeis today I’ll get to see my nephew and deliver to him a NY Yankees cap in the heart of Red Sox territory
- I have readers who care enough about me and my ideas to return to this blog day after day
There. Ten things I’m grateful for. And I feel great. Give it a try.