Tag: calm

Breathe Through Your Heart



While it may not be anatomically correct, there’s something wonderfully soothing about imagining your heart as the center of every breath.  Here’s how:

Rest both hands over your heart.

Imagine breathing in and out through your heart.

Feel your body relax and your mind quiet. 

Continue until you feel calm returning to your entire system.

I once tried this with my daughter while she was recovery from surgery.  Still in the hospital and having a very difficult time with pain management, her heart monitor registered dangerously high.  I placed my hand over her heart and asked her to breathe into my hand.  Very soon the monitor was quiet and ease began to spread through her body.  We stuck with it until she was able to maintain that sense of calm all on her own.

Heart breathing isn’t something I invented.  This simplified version is a derivative of HeartMath, an intriguing, science-based, approach to relieving anxiety and fear.  For more on HeartMath, check out their website: https://www.heartmath.com.


Photo by Nine Köpfer on Unsplash

Calm Your Nerves #23 – Change Your Mind

change your mindAct or React?  The choice is yours. When you mindlessly react to events and demands, it’s easy for your nerves to get frazzled.  Not a happy situation but one you can change by choosing a more measured response based on awareness.

Easier said than done?  Perhaps at first.  But like building muscle, starting small and doing a little bit – consistently – increases ability until soon you are able to “change your mind” almost without effort.

Want a recipe for change?

Leave it to the good folks at “Daily Good” to provide the instruction manual. Rather than re-invent the wheel, I’m passing along their tidbit of “goodness”.

Click to read more

Calm Your Nerves #21 – Find a New Rhythm

Like nodding your head, opening and closing your hands can be used to guide your nervous system to a calmer, easier rhythm.

Give it a try:

Bring the tips of the fingers on your non-dominant hand to touch.
As slowly and lightly as possible begin to open your hand just a little bit.
Reverse the movement and slowly bring the tips of your fingers together again.
Continue to bring the tips of your fingers toward and away from each other as if your hand were a flower bud opening and closing in slow motion.

When you have found slow, smooth rhythm with your non-dominant hand, try it with your dominant hand.
Then, try it with both hands at the same time.

What happens to your breathing?
What happens to the tension in your jaw, neck, shoulders, face, etc. as you continue to open and close?

Calm Your Nerves #19 – Coordinate Tongue and Eyes

coordinate tongue and eyesYour eyes and tongue can be powerful allies in your quest to calm your nerves. As noted before, the Vagus nerve rests very close to the surface in your mouth and tongue. Using your tongue to gently stroke the roof of your mouth stimulates your Vagus nerve activating your parasympathetic nervous system. You might think of stimulating your Vagus nerve as hitting the “recover” button on your nervous system.

The Vagus also rests close to the surface behind your eyes. So adding eye movements to the movements of your tongue can enhance their effectiveness. There is also the added benefit of using awareness and conscious movement to break the habitual movement patterns of tongue and eyes.

Give it a try:

Rest the tip of your tongue lightly and softly at the back of your top teeth.
Very gently and slowly begin to stroke your tongue along your upper palette in the direction of the roof of your mouth. Once there pause. Then reverse the movement, returning your tongue to its resting place behind your top teeth.
Pause there.
Repeat the movement, softly and slowly stroking toward the roof of your mouth and back several times.

As you do this, NOTICE what your eyes do.
Do your eyes move up or down as your tongue moves toward the roof of your mouth? toward the back of your teeth?

Once you identify how your eyes move, begin to move them consciously in the direction they seem to want to go as you continue to stroke your upper palette with your tongue.

Move very slowly and just a tiny bit. With awareness and movement, less is definitely a lot more.

After several repetitions with your eyes moving in their preferred direction, switch directions.

Notice what happens with your breathing.

Calm Your Nerves #2 – Smile

smileIn the vein of “fake it ’til you make it”, smiling is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do.

A genuine smile releases the tension in your jaws and face, then ripples that ease throughout your body. In the process, your mood is elevated and you feel more joyful.

Give it a try:

Break into a grin. Not just any grin. Try the kind that parts and bares your teeth, brings the corners of your mouth upward and crinkles your eyes.

Can’t seem to muster anything bigger than a smirk or a polite, mouth-closed, thin-lipped pseudo-smile? No problem. Fake it!

Place a pen (or your index finger) lengthwise between your teeth and far enough back into your mouth that it causes your lips to spread outward.

Can you feel the tension release?

Calm Your Nerves

Welcome to “Calm Your Nerves”. In this special series, I’ll be showing you simple things you can do to reduce stress and create ease in your life. Check back often as I will continue to add to the list.

WAnt to get the most out of the Calm Your Nerves tips? Then follow these simple guidelines:

1. Pay attention. Notice what you are doing, feeling, sensing, etc. Focus on YOU and not what you perceive to be right or wrong or even what you expect to happen. There is no judgement involved in any of these tips. Instead, they give you the opportunity to learn a bit about yourself and perhaps find ways to create ease in your life. Notice what you do, how you do it and what are your habitual patterns. Once you know, you have the choice to change. Knowledge truly is power.

2. Do less than you know you can do. As I often tell my clients – “Some is good, more is not necessarily better.” Stay within a range that is enjoyable and doable. There is nothing to be gained by biting off more than you can chew. A few movements done simply with attention will go further toward reducing tension than a regimented program.

3. Focus on Ease. Let yourself stay within a range of comfort and ease.

4. Pain and Struggle are Optional. To optimize your experience, stay within your comfort zone. If all you can do right now is a tiny movement within a tiny range, that is enough. The idea is to teach your nervous system that what you are asking it to do, i.e., calm down, is possible and pleasurable. If you force, push through pain, tighten and give it your all, you teach yourself to struggle. Remember – pain, not pleasure, is a four-letter word.

5. Do many repetitions. Light and easy does it.

6. Introduce Variety. It is the spice of life, you know. By trying one thing many ways you optimize your nervous system’s ability to find what works and what works well – for you.

7. Let go of Perfection. Trying to be perfect at anything (or everything) only creates more dis-ease. Let go of the notion that there is only one “right” way of doing anything and focus instead on what works for you, playfully and with ease.

8. Share. There is no better way to learn than to teach. Feel free to share these tips with family and friends. Have them sign up to receive the tips for themselves (I’ll be sending new tips in future mailings.) and then connect with each other about which tips work best for you. (After all, a social network is extremely good for creating a healthy, ease-filled life.)

9. Enjoy! Let yourself play with the ideas. Be creative and morph ideas to make them your own. Let me know what you discover.

As always, I welcome your input. Feel free to respond to the posts and let me know which tips work best for you.