Family visits are usually a roller coast ride of emotions, and my recent three-week visit home definitely qualifies.
There was the sweet nostalgia of spending time with my ninety-one year old grandfather, the indescribable feeling of being there for my parents, and then the sadness of saying goodbye.
This visit was a great reminder of how important it is to slow down, take more deep breaths, and be present.
Because life keeps doing its thing, throwing out unexpected curveballs, and life is just so damn busy.
Your brain has to deal with millions of bits of information each day. It’s exhausting.
We get worn down by it, becoming more and more unresourceful as time passes.
While home, I researched relaxation techniques to help my Dad with his hypertension, which led to discovering the Institute of HeartMath, which then led to a couple of hours absorbing the art and science of connecting hearts and minds.
And even though I’ve been involved with personal development for many years, the impact of practices like meditation and breath-work on physical conditions still surprised me.
I fell in love with the following exercise because of its simplicity; it’s short, easy to follow, and you’ll feel the difference immediately.
It’s called Quick Coherence, a technique designed to shift your emotional state, sending positive emotions through your system fast, which then connects your heart with your brain.
“Coherence is the state when the heart, mind and emotions are in energetic alignment and cooperation.” – Dr. Rollin McCraty, Institute of HeartMath Research Director
A Simple Relaxation Technique to Connect Your Heart & Mind
Step 1: Heart Focus - Shift your attention to the area of the heart and breathe slowly and deeply.
Step 2: Heart Breathing – Keep your focus on the heart by gently breathing – five seconds in and five seconds out – through the area around your heart. Do this two or three times.
Step 3: Heart Feeling – Activate and sustain a genuine feeling of appreciation for someone or something in your life. Focus on the good heart feeling as you continue to breathe through the area of your heart.
I am always trying out new tools in my own life, and I knew this would help my Dad (who has been a Type A kind of guy for as long as I can remember!) learn to manage his emotional and mental state, and ultimately, his physical state. We were both inspired by the case studies shared by HeartMath, and began to practice together while I was home.
We sat in my parents sun-room in the morning, and I guided them through the exercise. And lest you think this doesn’t apply to you, it’s not just for hypertension; it will help anyone become more relaxed.
And HELLO, when you’re relaxed you make better choices, and are just generally more resourceful in life.
I spoke with my Dad today; he’s been doing the exercise the past week at least twice a day. His blood pressure has been consistently lower, and he’s feeling good. Best of all, he’s committed to practicing this regularly.
The truth is we sometimes need a wake-up call to fully commit to a change. And you have to be ready and willing to do the work, which I wrote about in Resistance is futile…or is it?
Just like I did with my Dad, I’d like to experiment with you in the coming week.
Here’s what I’d love you to do:
- Set up your day by doing the exercise in the morning.
- Do it again before bed to support more restful sleep.
Last night I did it while lying in bed, and I feel asleep before I got to step 3.
Bonus: Do it throughout the day when you feel any kind of stress or negative energy. It only takes a few minutes, but those minutes will make a big difference.