Richard Dama, LPC, Counseling & Clinical Hypnotherapy

Control Your Breath and Rule Your Reality

Right now this minute, you have an amazing tool that will help you quickly if not instantly, keep your calm, keep you centered and help you deal with stress; it’s a simple, intentional, deep breath.

Having the presence of mind and the mental discipline to intentionally take a mental step back from the situation, close your eyes and take a long slow breath from deep in your belly, hold it for a few seconds and then slowly and intentionally let it out, allows you to establish an emotional buffer zone between your rational self and the chaotic events unfolding around you. It gives you the opportunity to remind yourself that whatever is happening is outside yourself and even more importantly, is only temporary and that you have the choice of how to will react to the situation.

After taking this brief mental time-out, you still have the opportunity to choose to let the lizard part of your brain take over and react with irrational emotion. You also now have the choice to remind yourself that, even as bad as the situation may be, it is only a temporary circumstance that will be much more effectively dealt with by remaining calm, clear-headed and rational. Think of the old motivational poster, “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”

Last night I had a client who just had an emotionally taxing day; as she put it, “My boss was a jerk, my coworkers were assholes and my customers all expected me to do the impossible immediately.”

I asked her to close her eyes and concentrate on my voice. I then led her through a couple of intentional deep breaths; reminding her to notice how each breath made her feel more and more calm and relaxed. It was only a matter of a minute or two until she was in a deep state of trance. During the session, I gave her the suggestion that when she began to feel overwhelmed to take a mental time-out and do the intentional deep breathing exercise.

After the session I asked her how she felt and she said, “I feel great. I feel calm, centered and confident. But it’s funny that my yoga instructor, my meditation coach and you all keep telling me to breath.” To which I responded, “Yes, and how many more people are you going to pay before you begin to take our advice?”

This weekend I came across a post from Puja Shah; the female side of a husband and wife team of highly successful entrepreneurs who advocate for the use of meditation, visualization, and intentionality as the building blocks to success. The following is her account of how a few deep breaths helped her turn a challenging situation into a positive, self-affirming event:

Recently, I was working on a tax document, on a long telephone hold for a utility company and was thinking of how I still had to write an article for work plus get dinner ready for the family. That’s when my daughter toppled over a large glass of milk and burst into tears…It was a chaotic moment to say the least. It was one of those times as a parent when you just wish you could close your eyes and everything would be done and your child would be playing happily alongside you. It was one of those “test your patience moments” when your insides feel like they are bursting. “Just breathe,” I told myself and as I took a few deep breaths in and out, I watched my little girl’s little teary eyes on me. She did the same. So we sat there, mother and daughter, taking deep breaths and I smiled. So she did, too. It was a magical moment to say the least. Those words, “Just breathe” are often my mind’s go-to, so I can remind myself to fill with prana instead of stress. A moment’s mantra, if you will. You see, for me, mantra is not only for meditation. It could be any saying that speaks to you. “I am calmness”, “I choose love”, or “this will pass”, just anything that will allow you to find clarity and act accordingly in a situation that calls for it the most. 

Say it a few times in your mind, nothing will turn into a major catastrophe if you take a minute to do this for yourself. 

These are your power words, your own personal mantras. And then, the moment becomes yours.

Rule Your Reality

Here’s hoping you have an intentionally great day where you rule your reality.

Rich

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