By Risa Gaull Brophy, BS, MQT
If I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed, then I’m also probably not breathing. I’m probably not even in my body. I’m just up in my head, letting my mind take me into fear, into the future, and out of the present moment – which is where my power and the ability to act is.
These steps help me return to my breath and the present moment. You might find them useful, too.
Step 1: Breathe.
If you’re really stressed out, try this 7-4-8 breath: Breathe in slowly for a count of 7, hold gently for a count of 4, exhale slowly for a count of 8 and feel all the tension release from your body. Repeat 3 times (or more) and, just like Dorothy clicking her heels, you’ll find yourself magically transported to a place of calm, centeredness. Welcome back
Step 2: Do a mind dump.
If I start to feel overwhelmed, thinking about all the things I need and want to do, I write everything down on a to-do list, then prioritize it, and focus on doing only those things that absolutely have to be done today. I also remind myself to take one day at a time, one step at a time. I don’t have to have it all figured out; I just need to know what the next right step is.
Step 3: Who’s running this show, anyway?
If I’m honest and I look a little deeper, it’s usually not a time management issue that drives my anxiety. The question usually is: from what place within me am I operating?
I’m operating in reaction to some underlying sense of fear or insecurity, and I’m letting my mind run the show. Our beautiful minds, God bless them, are really good at helping us navigate and take action in the world. All our minds really want to do is keep us safe. The mind likes things to be predictable and will desperately try to be in control of everything.
Well, in case you haven’t noticed, life is not predictable and the only thing we really ever have control over is ourselves. So you see, the mind was never meant to run the show. Its job is to serve the heart.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Wayne Dyer
The heart is where our Higher Self resides — our spirit, our truth, our place of inner knowing. It’s where we experience peace, and our connection with All That Is.
This is the place of calmness and clarity that I experience when I do qigong — and what I most love to teach. Using our breath, gentle, flowing movement, and the focus of our attention, we integrate mind, body, and spirit, coming into alignment with our truest selves, and into harmony with the divine pulse of the universe.
I have learned how to operate from this centered place within me, and I now easily notice when I am in “control mode” versus taking inspired action. As I grow spiritually, I am constantly cultivating my faith and trust in a power greater than me, and I remind myself that “I don’t have to push the river.”
I plead temporary insanity when I’ve forgotten that I am not alone, that there is a Divine Order at work, and that I am safe and supported by a loving and abundant universe. I affirm, “All is well.” I know that I am a powerful co-creator, and that whatever I focus on, expands.