As I was getting my son ready for his first day back at school after dislocating his knee (ouch!) I realised my breathing was becoming rapid. As my breathing grew more rapid so did his. I paused for a brief moment to observe myself over anticipating all the things he may (or may not) encounter in navigating school life with a full leg brace. Then, once I observed my own counter-productive behaviour, I started noticing him becoming more frantic as we headed out the door.
I immediately said, “stop, let’s slow down. We don’t have to rush. It’s ok. Let’s take our time. It’s all good.” Upon saying these words out loud to my son AND myself, my breathing immediately regulated and I quickly observed he too had calmed his movements and went back to leaving the house as he normally does (well before crutches!).
Now, I’m generally a cruisy, mindful person and my son is one chilled out 13 year old boy but all of us have moments that can get the better of our regular healthy habits. Obstacles that randomly occur in our everyday lives that instantly impact the way we manage ourselves and interact with those around us.
Try this exercise next time you catch yourself breathing a little too rapidly, feeling frantic, or over anticipating what may (or may not) occur:
Take a moment to physically stop and exhale.
Then, observe what you are doing and how that may be impacting you, others and your environment.
Then self talk. Whatever words you choose, say words (out loud) that literally tell you to do something that is a more positive, productive and enjoyable way of being.
When you feel ready, return to your day.
Remember that a little pause in time to regroup and refocus can have a massive positive impact on your time each day, week and life in general.