Breathe. Breathe Again. Step Outside. Love Yourself. Be Still.

Breathe. There are few activities or circumstances that cannot be improved with a deep breath. Whether you call it Prana, Chi or Oxygen – taking a deep breath can alter the experience of your world in mere moments.

Breathe again. When I’m under intense stress – whether it’s due to external circumstances or the habitual insanity of my monkey mind – it can be hard to breathe. I’m often astonished by how difficult it can be to get some air into my lungs. When this happens, just keep trying. There’s no time you need to breathe more than when you can’t breather. It just may take a few attempts. And the effort you put into it will certainly distract you from whatever else was bothering you at the moment.

Step outside. I love sitting at my desk. Almost everything I need is within arms reach and it’s a wonderful place to spend the day. But even when I’m having a great day, it blows my mind how much greater it gets when I step outside. Whether I’m taking out the garbage, picking up my child from school or looking at the sky, it lifts my spirits to smell fresh air, see vivid colors and hear natural sounds all around me.

Love Yourself. Countless books have been written about the importance of loving oneself, and yet it remains a challenge for many. After all, what does it really mean? Is it standing in front of a mirror saying “I’m smart enough, I’m good enough and, darn it, people like me”? Not necessarily. It can be as simple as taking a moment to appreciate that you have a heart and it’s beating. It can be as simple as feeling a pain and sending it care rather than cursing the displeasure it brings.  It can mean treating yourself kindly, giving yourself a break, drinking water or taking a nap. It can mean something different at every different moment, and the only way you’ll know is to ask “How can I love myself right now?”

Be Still. For a moment. Just stop. Everything is going really well and it’s going to be all right.