Life is so fast; we are often so reactive. One way to manage stress is to take a pause to breathe mindfully a bit and then respond, rather than react automatically. By tapping into the holistic brain, resting into the more relaxed parasympathetic nervous system, we can give a wholehearted response. We are at choice.
The Anticipated Message, collage by Carol Harada
Shifting into parasympathetic mode can be done quickly with mindful breathing, especially belly breathing. Try it now.
It also helps to bring your awareness back to what we in Intuition Medicine® call the meditation sanctuary. Often our awareness is in the frontal cortex, the focused analytic mind. But when we shift our awareness back to the hypothalamus, roughly in the center of the head, we have access to more complete information. In the meditation sanctuary, you are receiving holistic input from olfactory, auditory, and optic nerves. You have access to all the senses and intuitive ways of knowing.
So when we take a moment to reflect, we often make better choices. Being in anxiety and fear only brings more of the same. (This reactivity is so present in divisive politics and violent incidents around the world.)
A friend who is a single parent recently told me about his practice of coming back to choice. He’s caught himself sometimes reacting with yelling, escalating his teen’s drama. But he always tries to come back to choice, to take a do-over to respond mindfully. He told me that being a parent is the guaranteed way to be forced to deal with his own issues daily.
As someone who is not a parent, I bow down to all those raising kids and coming back to choice. And yet we are all in relationships with important people who are mirrors and teachers for us. So find your way back to your meditation sanctuary, your reflective pause, your mindful breath.