The Healing Power Of Pausing
If we were to delve into our movie memory bank of a favorite military film, the basic training lineup offers unique parallels for today. Seeing the long line of newbies and the drill Sergeant screaming at them “Attennnn….tion!” They immediately stand feet together, don’t move, chest out, looking straight, and freeze. Eventually, the command of “at ease” is given, and they move into a more relaxed stance, open legs, can move their heads, but still no talking.
Many may be feeling that we have been in that “attention” state since March of 2020, taking new orders to “shelter in place,” wear a face mask, plus new applications of daily living since COVID. All the ranges of emotions we have experienced from fear, to panic, to depression, to anger, naming just a few. Along with the big emotions of grief and loss, trying to process how suddenly, we must “stop” working, traveling and seeing our beloved families. The lack of hugs, gathering around a table for a meal and not being with our faith families on the weekends was beyond difficult.
It is precisely at this junction in time with work/life/family stress at an all-time high, to pause – to begin embracing this stance of “at ease” on a regular basis. We can’t afford not to begin having intentional lifestyle moments of calm, keeping heart disease from evolving. Stress raises your risk of serious heart problems. Stress increases the plaque rate and it can accumulate in the arteries. It makes platelets sticky and prone to forming clots that can block these arteries. Stress can also cause arteries to constrict, starving the heart of nourishing blood and triggering chest pain or a heart attack. Your heart and brain have been in survivor mode for months, and deserve to be tended to with gentle self-care.
Empowering new lifestyle choices, for yourself with love, offers balance and health. Here is what works, simple, and effective.
Pausing For Wellness:
• Meditation/Mindfulness – beginning the day pausing, focusing on your breath, being still with free apps Abide, Mindfulness Training, Smiling Mind, Reflect
• Praying – Divine time boosts mental health with apps Centering Prayer, Reflect
• Exercise – for energy, walking daily, especially children after virtual learning
• Nature to Nurture – unplug from technology, as going outside is essential for health and happiness
• Quick Coherence – www.heartmath.org one-minute breathing tool
• Breathing Exercises – 3-5-8, inhaling, holding, exhaling
• Yin Yoga – gentle stretching calms the body/mind
• Therapeutic Massage – deep relaxation reduces cortisol levels
• Aromatherapy – essential oils of Stress Away, and Peace and Calming
• Smile More – happy emotional support thanks to dopamine and serotonin