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Part 1

Many years ago someone was telling me how frantic her life as a working mother with 2 young children was. She told me, “On Monday mornings I feel like we are shot out of a cannon and we don’t land until Friday night”.

I think many people feel that way – some might even say they have not landed yet!

So what can people do to bring more calm into their lives?

We all have some levels of stress in our live. Stress in and of itself is not inherently “bad”. It is when we have an overload of stress that we cannot manage well that stress can overwhelm us (physically as well as emotionally). Overwhelming stress can occur in our lives for varying reasons – work, financial, family, health, logistics, etc. – or for a combination of reasons. Sometimes it is short-lived; sometimes it can continue on and on and thus become “chronic”.

There are 168 hours in the week. Even if you are fortunate enough to get a therapeutic bodywork session once a week and get to the gym/yoga class once a week, that is only 2-3 hours out of your week, and leaves 165 hours for stress to again overwhelm you.

From a recent blog post I wrote: “… I prefer to work directly with people (versus writing words) so that I may place my hands on them as needed, see how they respond to my words, and respond to them….” That aside, I will be writing some posts about ways you can decrease stress in your life.

If you missed it, please see the first of them, from February 18, Soothing Diaphragm Breathing, on my Facebook page and on my website blog. When one first begins to practice this, it can be hard to envision/”feel”, but the more one practices, the more “sense” it begins to make, and the easier and more “rewarding” it becomes.

I would suggest that you spend two “sessions” (they can be brief) a day practicing this breathing.

Soothing Diaphragm Breathing is, in my opinion, one of the best “self-help” techniques there is. Why? In part, because it slows us down and helps bring us into a more conscious awareness of/connection with our body.

The next thing I would suggest you turn your attention to is how you begin your day.

Many people pop up at the sound of a jarring alarm – one that incites the “Flight or Fight” response.

So…. if that is how you begin your day, think about how that sets you up, and consider if you can choose a different way to be awakened.

If you already have a less jarring way to awaken, great!

What happens next? Do you jump out of bed and start running around, ½ awake and ½ paying attention? Yes, I know what it can be like to have many things calling for your attention.

I also know the benefits of focusing, and I urge you to consider what your day might be like if you began by awakening and remaining in bed for the next 10 minutes – and yes, I understand how precious 10 minutes are, and how many people would rather get an extra 10 minutes of sleep, but I ask you to step back, and see this as a small part of a larger shift in how you function in the world - and during that 10 minutes, start to move your body, slowly, smoothly, and in small, fluid, gentle motions.

Have you ever seen a kitty cat flex their paws? The motions are strong yet gentle and fluid.

Can you move your toes and feet in that manner? This may involve gentle knee and leg movements as well.

Can you make gentle, small ankle circles? These should not involve scrunching up your toes.

Now can you do these same gentle and smooth motions with your hands, elbows, and arms?

The next phase of this warm - up to greet the new day is gentle, brisk, rubbing. Begin by gently and briskly rubbing across the area where your legs join your torso. Next rub along the sides and front of your body - your ribs, the area of your belly/intestines – and onto your chest, your arms, whatever you can reach of the tops of the back of your shoulders and neck, and the base of your skull in the back.

In my next post, I will write about a few other things you can do before getting out there and greeting the world for the day.

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