Breathe with Gratitude
As we head into this week of Thanksgiving, I wonder if we can all just take a deep breath. This past year has been unprecedented and highly stressful to say the least. So much of what we were looking forward to and was planned has been cancelled, postponed, or greatly modified. It has been a year of fear, disappointment, and constant shifts. Millions have been infected and more than a quarter million lives have been lost. This, of course, has led to fatigue, frustration, and flat out weariness. We find ourselves often wondering and asking when we will get to the other side of this devastating pandemic.
How do we cope in such times? First, I think we need to start by just breathing. I don’t know about you, but sometimes under stressful times I subconsciously hold my breath or tighten my shoulders. According to goodnet.org, deep breathing does have incredibly powerful benefits for our bodies, minds, and souls, and can even transform our day completely. Deep breathing exercises can reduce stress, improve clarity and focus, remove toxins, provide energy, and much more.
In addition to breathing, focus on what we have to be grateful for during this Thanksgiving week. The act of practicing gratitude also has many physical, emotional, and psychological benefits. Those benefits include better sleeping, enhanced relationships, increased empathy for others, decreased depression, and self-esteem improvement.
In my coaching practice, I also offer these suggestions for reducing your stress:
- Go to bed on time.
- Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
- Say No to projects that won’t fit into your time schedule or that will compromise your mental health.
- Delegate tasks to capable others.
- Simplify and unclutter your life.
- Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
- Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.
- Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don’t lump the hard things all together.
- Take one day at a time.
- Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can’t do anything about a situation, forget it.
- Live within your budget; don’t use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
- Have backups: an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
- K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
- Do something for the Kid in You every day.
- Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.
- Get enough rest.
- Eat right.
- Get organized so everything has its place.
- Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
- Write down thoughts and inspirations.
- Every day, find time to be alone.
- Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don’t wait until it’s time to go to bed to try and pray.
- Make friends with Godly people.
- Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.
- Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good “Thank you Jesus.”
- Laugh some more!
- Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.
- Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can)
- Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).
- Sit on your ego.
33 Talk less; listen more.
- Slow down.
- Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
- Every night before bed, think of one thing you’re grateful for that you’ve never been grateful for before. GOD HAS A WAY OF TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR YOU.
An Angel says, “Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn’t happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.”
In these coming weeks breathe, offer gratitude, and adopt a couple of items off the list above to practice! A few new healthy habits can make all the difference in the world!