Welcome to the DW Healing Arts Be Well series of wellness tips for January 2016. Each day I will highlight a card from my Balance Resource Cards decks. The wellness resources will help you bring balance to your body, mind and spirit if used on a regular basis.
Take a moment right now, and practice today's wellness tip as you read this. Grab your journal, turn off your phone, find a quiet place without interruptions and set a timer for 20 or 30 minutes. This is time you are investing in yourself. You are worth it.
Give yourself permission to balance your life.
May you Be Well! Love, Deanna
Studies show that 5 – 10 minutes of meditation and deep breathing a day can significantly reduce the impact of stress and improve your health and well-being. There are many ways to meditate. The goal of meditation is to switch from doing something to simply being present in the moment.
Breathing is an important way to reduce our stress levels. It helps you think clearly. It also helps oxygenate the tissues, which appears to prevent the growth of cancer cells in some studies. We all need to breathe. Many of us breathe from the upper part of our chest instead of our diaphragm. Try this experiment to determine if you are breathing correctly. Lie down on a flat surface and place a box of tissues on your stomach. Now breathe normally. You should notice the box rising and falling with your breath cycle. If it is not doing this, pay attention to drawing the breath into your lower abdomen and filling this area before filling your upper chest. Practice this for a few minutes until it feels natural.
Deep breathing switches your body's fight or flight stress response into a rest and digest relaxation response. Try the following 4 - 7 - 8 count cycle. Take a deep breath for a count of 4. Use your entire lung capacity by starting your breath from your abdominal area, up to the diaphragm, then expanding your ribs out as far as possible. Hold for a count of 7, then slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. Repeat the process for several breath cycles. You may also try counting each breath backwards in cycles of 4 as another strategy for quieting your mind.
Slow breathing while smiling and moving your eyes activates different parts of the brain, promoting deep relaxation. Find a rectangle object in your line of vision. Look at the upper left corner. As your eyes move to the upper right corner, inhale for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 4 as your eyes move to the lower right corner of the object. Exhale for a count of 4 as your eyes move to the lower left corner. Now hold your breath and smile while your eyes return to the upper left corner of the object. Repeat several times.
There are other breathing exercises you can find here. Try intentionally breathing every few hours during the day. Set a timer to remind you.
Take a few moments and breathe mindfully right now. What do you notice?
Many people are experiencing transitions in life this season. Students and teachers are returning to school. Gardeners are busy harvesting and preparing for the fall season. Caregivers and family are waiting with their loved ones to transition from this life to the next. Parents are anticipating the birth of a new child.
Transition is a normal part of life.
DW Healing Arts
Balance Resource Cards
Mind Body Spirit