June 10, 2014 · Posted in Mental Health, Parenting, Therapy · Permalink · Comments Off on Tapping into Our Best Adult Selves: A Short Breathing Practice
Here are the core emotional qualities of our best adult selves.
Calm, Compassionate, Curious, Connected, Confident, Creative, Courageous, Clear, Patience, Perspective, Perseverance, Presence
When we can lead our lives from this essential self we have healthier relationships, make better choices, and feel more flexible and calm while we ride the waves of life. These qualities make a great leader, and what is a parent, if not a leader?
Though we are rarely in a state of feeling all of the above qualities, we do our best job as parents when we have a combo of at least a few. Cultivating and strengthening these feelings helps when daily tangles with children leave you frustrated, helpless or angry.
Here is an exercise to develop these emotional states:
Take a full ten minutes when you won’t be interrupted, shut off your phone, and get in a comfortable position. Notice your breath. Is it shallow, or fast, or deep or jagged? Then take 25 inhales and exhales and try to even out the rhythm. Scan your body from head to toe. Notice every sensation. Tension in your jaw? A rumbling stomach? Tightness in your lower back? Imagine sending breath to that area. Consciously try to release tension in any tight area. When you realize that your mind has gone on a tangent — planning, worrying or problem solving, just take note and try to gently come back to your breath. You may notice a sense of lightness, or relaxation. Check and see if you have access to a deeper sense of calm, patience, and compassion for yourself. Even if it only lasts a moment, this more spacious place is where our best parenting flows. Memorize the feeling in your body. You can actually call it up at other times when you feel more riled or triggered. The ups and downs of parenting can be brutal – being able to tap into a more balanced state is a is like a built in oasis. Try it!