Mind, Body, Soul

Image by Charlie Firth

A

Hidden

Resource

for Calming

the Mind

About

the author

 

Jenny Morrill

The surprising benefits of breath

 

About Jenny

As a recovering breath holder, Jenny Morrill knows first hand how stress impairs thinking, sleeping, and diminishes feelings of joyful living. As a mother, an educator, and mindfulness teacher for adolescents and youth, she looks forward to sharing with you nuggets of mindful wisdom to help you find ease while navigating life.  Jenny is available for one-on-one and group training. Email: Jenny@3marigolds.com

 
Prep Work to Explore Self-care  

Take a minute to read through and reflect on these questions.  

  1. What are some words you use with yourself when you are struggling? (Do you criticize or offer support?)

  2. When you notice something about yourself and you don’t like it, how do you feel? (Do you use negative self-talk or gentle encouragement?)

  3. How do you react when you make mistakes? (Do you think there is something wrong with you or something you still have yet to learn?)

  4. When stressed, how do you respond? (Do you push back, puff up, shrink, or shield up?)  

Habits of Mind 

Individual power lies in the ability to manage pressure and stress effectively. Strong emotion can be meaningful and reacting to stress is normal. Learning how to skillfully work with strong emotions without losing a sense of stability is possible through mindfulness practices over time. Harnessing the art of mindful breathing and reflection grows the capacity for strength, kindness, and self-love.  

Kindness:

Mindfulness is an approach to life rooted in kindness, beginning with observing emotional reactions and negative self-talk skillfully. The key is to become aware of the judging mind while also holding space for kindness. Understanding how to use the breath and the mindful action of choosing kindness rather than criticism creates a healthier mindset when tough challenges show up in life.

Compassion:

Opening up to a more compassionate and connected life is a skill that can grow. Personalities or habits of mind are not permanent and compassion can be learned.     

  • Compassion is the kinder response to our experiences, whether they are pleasant or not.

  • Compassion promotes a gentle, steady, and kind presence of mind.

  • Compassion reduces giving drama or negativity active attention.

  • Compassion reinforces having personal boundaries. Having a compassionate heart does not mean being a doormat but to comfortably say “no” when necessary.

  • Compassion develops a sense of connection to community and others, knowing all living beings share the common need for love and understanding. 

 

What is the Role of Mindfulness?

  • Creates new habits of mind for kindness and compassion while observing negative self-talk.

  • Reduces the autopilot mindset of being judgmental.

  • Emotions become companions to spark deeper growth and sharpening wisdom.

  • Speaks through the generosity of treating the mind, body, and relationships with care and love.  

  • Stress is not a problem. It is a signal to pay attention and reclaim balance. The mindful breath creates new neural pathways signaling the brain to settle the body and mind. This signal primes helpful reflection to move through experiences with more skill and wisdom. 

  • Just as the mindful breath delivers nourishing oxygen to the body, mindfulness practices also dedicate time to nourish kindness and love to the emotional body. 

  • Mindfulness practices can create loving habits when overworked or stressed. Getting pulled into poor health habits when emotionally and physically taxed is typically an optimal time for finding ways to practice self-care. 

Everyday Living:

  1. Remove judgment when struggling. Instead, dig deep in doing activities that are caring. 

  2. Recognize feelings of anxiousness or stress, and slow down with the deep belly breaths. Rest. Listen to music that brings joy. Color. Read. Walk. Daydream. Set future goals focusing on hope. Recognize the accomplishments and good moments. Call or talk with a friend or ally while learning to practice self-care. Go Gently.

  3. Maybe a specific time of year or an upcoming obligation will cause discomfort or distress. Gear up for it. Be accepting of the nervousness or anxiety caused by anticipating and living experience. Extend a self-care routine to build more resilience and strength. The “healthy-proactive response” is knowing and accepting what needs to happen at stressful times.  

  4. Remember, self-compassion is a source of love. Meaning, the ability to use self-care and make healthy decisions will not come from outside of you. Step into the role of advocating for your self-care. Quiet the inner critic through gentle observation. Breathe, pause, settle, and embrace love and kindness. 

  5. Nourishing well-being is the gift. Not the absence of discomfort or stress. Loving, kind, and compassionate self-care fuels thinking, feelings, and decisions. Love is the beginning step to healing and a birthright.  

  6. Compassion reinforces that all living beings have the right to feel safe, joy, and love. Happiness is not always a natural state of being. It does take work and effort. Kindness, compassion, and self-care grow through mindfulness practices.  

  7. Just as the breath is an inner resource to settle the stress response, self-compassion and self-acceptance are resources that can steer a path through muddy waters.  

  8. Promote the nature of the dynamic and powerful body and mind by creating opportunities to check-in and connect with mindful breathing.  Ask:  Where am I, and what do I need to stay steady and present? Possible answers:

    • Sleep

    • Nutritionally dense food

    • Water or nourishing tea

    • Movement

    • Time to breathe 

    • Connection with loved ones

    • Quiet

    • Music 

    • Beautiful scents

    • Nature

    • More loving acceptance rather than negative self-talk

By Jenny Morrill
 
Why are you telling me to breathe when I want to SCREAM?

Has this happened to you?  You are so full of emotion, and all you want to do is act out because if you don’t, you may explode? The stress you are experiencing is overwhelming.  The emotion you are feeling is overriding your ability to think and focus. While trying to explain what you are going through, someone advises you just to breathe.  What?

The advice to "just breath" is based on science.

inhale

The breath is a Bio-Hack and Super-Power!

Our brain uses 90% of our energy.  90% of our energy comes from how our body uses oxygen.  When we breathe deeply, our brain receives a signal to relax the nervous system and turn on our thinking brain.  The advice to “Just breathe” is based on science. It is a way to turn down the dial on strong emotions and turn up our ability to process and problem solve.  It delivers abundant oxygen into our brain and body, which is healthy. Oxygen helps every cell in our body to work efficiently. When we do take our time to breathe, we are giving our body and brain nourishing ingredients to work well.   

The Practice Before the Big Game

Taking time to breathe within a mindfulness practice is healthy and healing for the brain, body, and emotions.  Outside of an awkward emotional moment, mindful breathing practices are comparable to what an athlete needs to do before the big game.  An athlete needs repetitive exercises of a specific skill to do well in a competitive match. It takes time to develop that muscle memory, strength, and coordination to be a successful athlete.  

Mindfulness Practice is Preparation for Life. 

When you take a few moments to learn the “Skill of Being Still” through mindfulness, you sharpen your ability to steady yourself during difficult times. The mindful breath is the practice of centering yourself. The breath signals the brain to connect less to emotions learning how to work with them rather than getting taken over by them.  Mindful breathing is the prep work it takes to move through our days more connected and steady. These practices are the pathway of less judgment and more kindness with yourself and others. Mindfulness brings you closer to who you are. It supports the development of healthy emotional and mental skills to use when dealing with challenges in life.

Check out what other teens are saying about mindfulness...
Book Drop!

Learn more about mindfulness with

The Mindful Athlete

by

George Mumford

By Jenny Morrill
 

Have you ever noticed what can happen with stress overload?  The pressure of stress can make thinking harder, emotions stronger, and decision-making often more complicated. Physically, stress can clench a jaw, tighten a stomach, or drag a sleepless night on for hours. The personal weight of experiencing stress can reinforce feelings of loneliness and agitation.  It can stir up a constant not-so-friendly pop-up thought that screams, “You are doing it wrong!” on repeat. Stress can become toxic if that inner voice of self-doubt, worry, or even anger becomes a constant companion.

Spoiler Alert

While learning the value of your presence in this world, you may move through a turbulent path.  This very path may be overgrown with thorn-covered brush and deep with mud puddles from time to time making it difficult to see clearly.  Experiencing a mess is truly part of being human. Learning and using strategies to soothe the clenched jaw, becoming comfortable with emotions, and dealing with muddy shoes can bring some stress relief. And, guess what? You were born with one of the most exceptional science-backed instruments to help heal your heart and mind while dealing with upsets.

One secret to overcoming stress

  • 90% of your energy comes from the oxygen you take in and how your body uses it.

  • When you breathe, you’re turning off the signals in your brain to react to stress.

  • You’re giving your immune system a boost, slowing your heart rate, and reducing blood pressure.

  • You're slowing the release of the stress hormone, cortisol, throughout the body which otherwise left to surge over time, can hurt your health.

  • You’re getting out of your head and into your body restoring balance physically, emotionally, behaviorally, and mentally.  

  • You’re turning on your “thinking brain” and soothing your automatic emotional brain.

  • You’re learning to pause before diving into a physical, emotional, behavioral, or mental response that may not be helpful.

A mindful breath. Even just one breath, taken in deep through your heart and into your belly can help.  Inhaling all the way deep into your abdomen. Exhaling a little more slowly and taking time to release the out breath. Why is this automatic life force action considered a hidden resource? Here is what science has to say about it:

What you can do

The next time you feel stressed and it starts to take root with the potential of blooming into a disastrous storm of self-doubt and negative thinking, seriously, take a deep breath.  Take two. Take three. This breath you can take anywhere. No one needs to know you are using it to calm your mind so you can get through a challenging turn in your personal, unique, and from time to time, rocky path.  Your breath is free to use at any time and a natural resource that gives you a moment to pause before making a decision.

 

Remember, the stress you face doesn’t represent your skills, abilities, value, or worth. You have in your body, mind, and spirit the ability to heal.  Your breath is one of the most healing actions your body can take to reset, restore balance, and grow resilience. Trust your breath’s power to heal, mindfully take it in, and allow it to calm your mind.  

 

Learn more

If you want to learn more and start a mindfulness breathing practice to strengthen your mind’s ability to calm down, many apps can help you practice some guided breathing practices. A fan favorite and free app is the Insight Timer.  You can access it online or download it on your phone. When you have two, three, or five minutes in your day to practice a little mindful breathing, you will be creating new pathways in your brain building a “steady and ready” state of being. Another one that has some freebies and some fees is Calm. 

Learn more about mindfulness with

The Mindful Athlete
by
George Mumford

Book Drop!

Try a workshop

Check out these local workshops for an even more in-depth experience of breathing practices.

Planting Seeds Workshop: Whether facing adversity or wanting to deepen your current self-care practices, this workshop will help you continue to flourish.

 

 

 

3 Marigolds Mindful Reiki Session: This uniquely designed session incorporates three healing modalities to awaken and restore ease.

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