This week’s blog comes from Deanna Bies, a TOPS Service Program Administrator and Board Member.
Do you think you have good listening skills? We are constantly listening to everything around us all the time—family members, television, music, street noise, pets, and the list goes on and on. But do you ever stop to listen to yourself? We often notice what is going on around us but not actually how we are reacting to the situations.
Breathing comes naturally to us—we breathe to live. We have our rhythmic, everyday breathing to pump oxygen in and out. Then there may be short shallow breaths when we get scared or angry. Sometimes there are long breaths followed by a sigh when expressing an emotion. Most of those come without thought as an automatic reaction. Learning to control our breath will help us listen to our bodies. Deep abdominal breaths help to get the oxygen we need to the brain. Breathing and relaxing the body gives us the avenue to tune in and see what’s going on.
Try this: Clench your fist really tight for a couple of minutes. You feel the tension in your wrists and maybe even your fingernails digging into the palm of your hand. Now instantly let go – not slowly – but quickly releasing the tension. You certainly are able to tell the difference in how your body feels at that moment. Now take a few really deep cleansing breaths, and you will feel your heart rate relax. You are tuning out.
When you practice body awareness and breathing exercises, you learn to read the messages your body is telling you. It will help you make wiser choices in every area of your life. When you feel yourself being stressed, tune in, breathe and help yourself relax. When you find yourself looking for something to eat, tune in to your tummy and find out if it is really looking for food.
It’s simple. Take a deep breath, focus on the area you are feeling and relax. Your mind will go there with you and you can tune out what was going on.
Hello body—how are you today?
NOTE: You can purchase a breathing exercises and meditation CD narrated by Deanna, called “Peaceful Place,” in the TOPS Store.