Keep Breathing . . .

No matter what your politics, no matter who you vote for, no matter what you believe, this election year has been a difficult one. Horrible words have been said, there is mistrust of politicians in general, fear seems to be running the country - the outlook seems grim. If you have experienced trauma or are grieving losses, the national news adds one more layer of pain and difficulty to attempts to heal and move into your life.

It's not my intention to tell you who to vote for, although I do hope you will educate yourself on the issues and let your voice be heard. What I would like to offer is the reminder that in light of national and personal difficulties, we can do more than wring out hands and give up. There is hope, there is always hope. The way we express that hope is to keep breathing! When it seems you will be overwhelmed with sadness or fear or anxiety, try this: breathe. Slow your brain and body - when we get into fearful situations, often our breathing becomes quick and shallow, and it is hard to think well and make good decisions.

Here's something that could help you - imagine drawing a box (or draw a box in the air with your finger) . . . take a deep inhale and draw a line across, hold it and draw a line down, exhale deeply and draw a line across, hold it and draw a line up. Repeat! You will find that the action of drawing a box in the air and slowing your breathing will also slow your thoughts and give you time and space to think and let go of anxiety. There's no rule about how often you repeat this exercise - as often as you need to! Some days you won't need this exercise, and some days you'll find that this breathing exercise can be helpful throughout the day.