3 Deep Breaths

A grounding exercise in the midst of uncertainty

A message from Mallika!

As our lives change in the coming days, it is important to find ways to manage anxiety, connect with others emotionally, and make wise decisions for ourselves and our families. 

It is normaland natural to feel overwhelmed, scared and stressed. Remember that our kids too are living with this uncertainty and looking to adults for guidance on how to react.

I wanted to share a breathing exercise that I use several times a day to anchor myself in the midst of the overwhelming news, uncertainty, stress and chaos of the times. This is a good exercise to do with kids, as well.

3 Deep Breaths

Go outside for this exercise, if you can. It is nice to get fresh air. 
(You can also do this inside any time, as well.)

Stand with both feet evenly on the ground beneath you.
Set the intent to “feel grounded”.
Take a deep breath, in and out, putting your attention on the solid ground beneath you.

Put both hands on your heart.
Feel your body and think about what you are grateful for today.
Take a deep breath in and out.

Drop both hands to your sides and stand tall.
Feel the space around you. 
Appreciate the expansiveness of the sky above and beyond.
Breathe deeply – in and out.

Breathing won’t solve your problems. However, pausing in this way can help you get in the mind space to think through your challenges with more clarity.

In addition to taking intentional moments in the day to breathe and connect, I am intentionally disciplining myself to follow healthy habits during these particularly uncertain times. For me, this means:

  • Prioritizing sleep
  • Taking walks in my neighborhood, and daily yoga
  • Connecting with family and friends. Phone calls and lots of texts!
  • Not resorting to eating too much sugar (baking cookies!) or drinking too much alcohol (Japanese whisky!)
  • Meditating for at least 15 minutes, once or twice a day
  • Getting ready every morning, even though I know I will be at home all day
  • Consciously putting the tv off and putting my phone aside if I notice I am getting lost in a news tornado
  • Thinking of things to do with my girls who are bound to get stir crazy being at home for at least 4 weeks. This includes: house cleaning, laundry, cooking meals, puzzles, movies, reading good books, and playing video games (I am learning how to play my daughters’ favorite games.)

There is no denying we are going through a historic period of global stress. Each of us can do our part to make sober, fact-based, and healthy decisions to protect ourselves, our families and our communities.

This is a time we can each ask: how can I serve? And, importantly and actively, express our gratitude for the service of the nurses, doctors, administrators, emergency workers, and all others across the spectrum of different professions who are on the front lines helping others.

Some additional resources you may find helpful…

Just Breathe and Just Feel have many more exercises you can do alone or with your kids to pause (meditation and mindfulness), connect with each other, and embrace and express the range of feelings that are normal and natural, particularly in times of stress.

Susan Kaiser Greenland has highlighted some helpful resources for parents, educators and caregivers here.

Also, Caroline Welch’s book, “The Gift of Presence: A Mindfulness Guide for Women,” comes out on March 17th. You can pre-order your copy here!