A group of friends…well, friends and Internet friends, recently started reading John Maxwell’s “Intentional Living” book and started a Professional Development Book Club – online and virtual to make it easy to participate. (If you’d like to participate, come join us, click here.) We are only on Chapter One this week and learning all about personal stories.
People love to tell stories…about their lives, their day, other people. You name it. We love to hear stories. Heck, I love to write them. Thus the insane number of manuscripts in my Cloud in various stages of completion.
But back to the stories…the personal ones.
We want our lives to matter. We want our stories to be of significance. ~ John Maxwell
People want their stories to matter, but how do we achieve significance? I feel like so many of us are so busy Do-ing that we aren’t Be-ing. How can you take action if you don’t know the course you want or even need to take?
I am the same. I can get so caught up in doing so many things, that I can lose focus and forget where I’m supposed to be putting my attention. In times like these, I simply have to stop myself, wherever I am, and focus for a few moments on my breathing. A few minutes of focused attention allows my heart rate to drop, my brain to stop bouncing around, and gives me a chance to be calm about approaching whatever the next thing was on my list.
I use this breathing trick to stay calm in any situation. Kids gets his little toe caught in the steel door at swim lessons? Calm. Dive off a motorcycle to keep from hitting a tree? Calm. Venturing out on my own in NYC? Calm.
The hard part is just remembering to breathe! When your breath is shortened, oxygen can’t get to your brain as quickly and you start to enter panic mode. So, STOP what you’re doing, breathe in deep and long 3-5 times and let the oxygen get back to your brain so you can calmly (and hopefully rationally) respond to the situation as you need too.
If you’re like me, you’ll come off the adrenaline high in about 3 hours. I’ve timed it…I know when it’s going to hit for me.
So, take a few minutes each day to just practice breathing deeply. The more you practice, the easier it becomes and the more natural it starts to feel. Then, you’ll naturally transition to it when a stressor hits and be able to response with a clear head and heart.
PS – This focused breathing actually helps stop toddler temper tantrums in their tracks. If you want to know how, my son will happily demonstrate with a simple explanation using hand motions to help trigger the focused breathing.
PSS – One of my best friends will actually call my phone, knowing I’m not going to answer just so she can hear the calming effect of my voice on my outgoing voicemail message.
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