Inhale… Exhale…

inhale exhale

Inhale… Exhale…

By Jo Strausz Rosen

We teach our residents at Jewish Senior Life that when our mind is elsewhere and bogged down in the news of the day, we may not be aware of where our body is taking us, and this is when accidents may occur. As we go about our daily lives, we must remember to be mindful of our bodies as we take steps up or down stairs and move in and out of cars performing errands, etc.  We have to protect ourselves and be aware. Take time and use handrails and notice our surroundings, being conscious of every moment. Breathe.  Inhale…. Exhale….

Consider the practice of Letting Go. Let go of our attachment to things. Let go of our judgment of others. Let go of the worry and comparison to the way things were. Look inward for guidance and seek it from spiritual advisors and friends. If we focus on positives, we flourish.  Find the positives. Keep looking… they are there. Inhale…. Exhale….

Allow adversity to wash over us and then, take some cleansing breaths. We are witnessing the reversals of rights and denial of freedoms as so many challenges and inequalities are bombarding us. Don’t give up. Every day is a new beginning and a new opportunity to improve and keep growing.

Try looking at life from a new perspective. If we feel overwhelmed, we can step back and observe the way we experience things. Treat ourselves like a loved one. Take a healthy approach to diet and exercise. Practice meditation. Get some rest, enhance the evening ritual of bedtime with a pleasant space that provides peace and quiet. Take a walk or a bike ride, plant a tree, or a flower, listen to soothing music, and practice gratitude. Every time we allow a negative thought, we can correct ourselves and move our minds to a positive mental place.  Inhale… Exhale….

How often do we discover our minds focusing on unhelpful negative thoughts and ideas? “Life isn’t supposed to be like this, I need it to be different.” “There is only one thing I want and without it I can’t be happy.” “I am totally right, and the other person is totally wrong.”

Life gets a lot easier when we let go of these thoughts. Things we desperately try to hold on to are often not even real. Sometimes they are imagined. Can we stop comparing ourselves to others? Can we focus on today by striving to become a better version of ourselves? We get to choose and decide how we want to deal with life’s frustrations and problems. We can empower ourselves to stay focused.  Inhale peaceful thoughts. Find peace in the simplicity of breath. Let go of tension in our neck, our shoulders. Loosen up. Inhale…. Exhale……

Creative visualization helps to find that peaceful space. Practice accepting reality and simply float. Float in a pool or in the ocean. Let go of all the things that weigh us down. Breathe in the light. Inner peace begins the moment we take a new breath and choose not to allow ourselves to be controlled by the uncontrollable events around us. Inhale the light…. Exhale the darkness… Inhale…. Exhale…

Practice challenging the stories we keep telling ourselves. Prof. Brene Brown coaches people to ask “What else could this mean?” Jumping to conclusions causes us to worry endlessly about something that may or may not be true. We can challenge ourselves daily to think better thoughts. Stop those negative thoughts as soon as we are aware that we are thinking of them. Do not invite those worries, frustrations, disappointments, and stressful thoughts to take up space in our heads. Inhale…. Exhale….

Can we renew faith in ourselves and our own ability to be strong? Can we choose to believe that our own power can guide us and help us deal with adversity? Can we believe that we have enough, and we are enough?

Adversity is something we constantly try to avoid, yet we are faced with it regularly. And if these situations tug at our hearts and make us want to crawl into bed, often these circumstances can also be effective and powerful detonators of our potential to grow, overcome, and move forward. We are all survivors. Believe it.

Inhale…. Exhale…

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