Alongside all the new understanding I have gained about managing my thoughts and feelings, there have been some really simple physical, practical things that I have found incredibly helpful. I have learnt how effective a few, slow, deep breaths can be in reducing tension in the body and refreshing the mind. The deep breaths literally stimulate the parasympathetic system which counters the adrenaline (one of the stress hormones) in our bodies! They also deliver an extra dose of oxygen and get rid of excess waste gases building up in our lungs – causing us to feel refreshed and more able to focus. (if you find yourself yawning a lot, take a few slow, deep breaths instead you’ll actually feel refreshed and its much less rude to those around you!). I usually use the deep breaths as a way to focus on a short prayer or a verse, bringing my attention in that moment literally to the source of my life.
And of course the very act of focusing in on my breathing and with it the prayer or verse also means that I have stepped off the runaway train of my thoughts! Other simple things like focusing on the sounds and smells around me for a couple of minutes or even turning my attention to my body with a quick body scan, serve to halt the thoughts and bring me back in touch with the present. These are all things that help both at night when it’s taken a little longer to get back to sleep, and during the day when I am just going through the motions or feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
This is the last of my series of posts based on the battle I have been fighting for peace of mind. Once again, I hope you have found some of them helpful, its certainly been good to share the journey with you.