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  • Writer's pictureSusan D. Kalior

Ways to Feel Better and Improve Your Life


Breathe. Just breathe, slowly, steadily, and deeply. When upset, our breathing is either exceedingly rapid, slow and shallow, or not at all.

When distressed, inhale relief through your nose, by slowly and simultaneously ballooning your abdomen and filling your chest with air to capacity. Then in a soothing exhalation from your mouth, slowly and simultaneously contract your abdomen and expel all air from your lungs. Repeat until calm.

The first step in calming down is to breathe s l o w l y, steadily, and deeply.

Our emotions affect our breathing, and our breathing affects our emotions. No matter what the upset, slow, deep, steady breathing calms us. It is virtually impossible to maintain our level of distress when breathing this way. With this technique, we can begin to take charge of our stressful emotions.

While calming down does not eradicate our problems, it increases our chances of solving them with stellar results. Panic, and/or feeling beaten are the top reasons people falter. These urges can be powerful. Yet, panic frequently begets tragedy, and giving up is tantamount to defeat.

Actions taken when stressed differ from actions taken when calm.

When we calm down, we:

*think more clearly

*act rationally

*do not overreact and make everything worse

*don’t take our upset out on others

*change tragic outlooks to brighter outcomes

When stressed, practice self-control.

While there is always a time for anger to spur us into action, sorrow to grieve our loss, or fear to keep us safe, these emotions when uncontrolled, can hijack reason and make our lives worse. Calming down can help us harness our emotions to navigate our lives in a more productive manner.

The first thing we are told when getting caught in an ocean rip current is don’t panic. Those who don’t make it usually panic and eventually give up. Those who survive, calmly and persistently swim parallel to the shore. This occurrence holds true for all stressful situations. When we remain calm and productively focused, we improve our chances of coming out on top.

If we follow a few simple rules, we can not only succeed in calming down, but remain calm with relative ease.

1. Regulate breathing. As just discussed, when stressed, breathe slowly, deeply, and steadily. Think, Everything will go better if I remain calm.

2. Focus on the desired finish line. Our thoughts often jump to the worst conclusion possible. We form doom and gloom assumptions that influence our actions. If instead, we keep our focus on the finish line, such as seeing ourselves home safe, being debt free, or enjoying our lives again after a great loss, our current fears begin to fade as our focus is now upon a desirable end game. This gives us positive direction while inhibiting our minds from spinning destructive thoughts.

This is not about trying to will the future we want into existence, but rather remaining calm enough to give that future a chance to happen.

3. Refrain from snap decisions. Let a day or two pass before making any rash decision. We humans can get sucked into the excitement of the moment as well as the fear of ‘act now or else’. Con artists count on us to succumb to this pitch. While not everyone who makes such a pitch is a con artist, these snap decisions are often not in our best interest.

Even one night's sleep and a day of pondering can help us see the bigger picture and the possible consequences of moving ahead with any given decision. We might ultimately make that decision, but it will be made with forethought and diminishing the chances of backfire.

4. Take things in stride. Sometimes it feels like an unsavory future is inevitable based on our past experience and current predicament. However, this imagined future is merely speculation based on our present point of view. Even our remembered past is based on the point of view we had then.

Our viewpoints change as we move along in life; hence, whatever seems true at the moment, may not be true in our future. Around the corner from any seeming disaster, there is another view. We just haven’t got there yet.

So as we sit in our present, if we take things in stride instead of trying to rush a result, we not only prevent destructive outcomes but we ensure our own evolvement by just allowing the process to take us there. Just as a baby needs time to develop in the womb, we too need time to develop throughout the course of our lives.

When we are patient and compassionate with ourselves, time will bring us along all on its own. Then one day, like the seedling breaking ground, we will emerge into the light, and the next step of our evolution. Like the caterpillar encased in a seeming eternity of darkness, we too are all destined to fly.

Life is in a constant state of change, and so are we.

Everything happens in its own time. We cannot rush our life story. We can only take it as it comes, and extract some joy along the way.

Points to Remember

1. When we calm our breathing, we calm our emotions.

2. Focus on the desired finish line, not our fears.

3. Avoid snap decisions that can work against us.

4. Take things in stride; don’t rush results.

Read more in the Simple Guide to Feeling Better

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