Hello, dear parents,
Today’s Tuesday Tune-In highlights a simple and quick happiness technique. I use it in groups all the time and do it on my own as well.
It involves two things: Grounding through breath and feeling grateful.
I write to you today from sunny Florida where I am spending spring break with my family. It’s pretty easy to feel happy when on vaca heading for a morning run on the beach. But even here, with family dynamics abound and surprises that arise I need to keep this easy tip in mind. And in my day to day I do this ALL the time.
There’s so much research in positive psychology that shows the benefits of having a gratitude practice. In short, it makes us happier.
This is a technique you can do while you’re breastfeeding, pushing a stroller, changing a diaper, or even while your baby is crying in your ear.
We all need a go-to technique when we are experiencing lack of sleep, hormone shifts and the endless physical exertions of parenthood.
Plus, not sleeping enough makes us irritable. We can have 5 highs and 5 lows all in the same hour. Our inner resources are depleted and annoyances that we might have been able to handle otherwise become too much.
Along with all that, caring for a baby means constant trouble shooting and that is stressful. Every time I had a small baby, I felt I was in survival mode during the first year.
This technique is also good to turn to when you have way too much on your plate, like I have had recently – growing my business, ushering one kid into middle school, making time to be fully present with the kids at home, working late hours, preparing for summer, keeping healthy and a thousand other things that I’m sure you relate to.
So what can we do? It’s so simple. It’s so short. And it’s also so effective.
My happiness technique: 3 Grateful Breaths
Take in 3 deep breaths. On every breath out, think of something you’re grateful for.
Don’t plan ahead of time what you’re grateful thing will be. Let it come to you as you start to breathe out. Let yourself be surprised by what it might be.
You may feel grateful for big things like your kids, your partner, your health, etc. Or you may feel grateful for things that seem insignificant and menial like forks, or diapers or a drink that you like.
In order to really tune in to what you’re feeling grateful for at that moment, let yourself really feel the breath in. Fill up your belly, your lungs, let your shoulders move and, rather than force in a deep breath, let yourself receive a deep and nourishing breath.
As you breathe out and think of what you’re grateful for, try not to just think it but instead feel it. There’s a big difference between the two.
The way I gauge for myself whether I really feel gratitude in a particular moment is if I get the chills a little bit. When I breathe out and am really tuned in and feel deeply what I’m grateful for (whether it’s toilet paper or the health of my parents), I know I’m feeling it fully when I tremble just a little bit.
Three breaths seems like nothing. Can it really have an effect on your day? I think it can.
And the thing is, it’s so short and you can do it anywhere. If it can really make you happier , than why not give it a shot?
Try it. What popped into your mind? COMMENT below and let me know.
One time for me, it was iced tea. I thought it was silly but then realized it represented satisfying my own needs and I really was grateful for tending to myself, even in small ways. Yours?
Know anyone who breathes? Share this Tuesday Tune-In.
Seriously. If you’re alive, you can do this. It takes so little time and has such big impacts. Send this to your breathing friends.