Take a Minute to Breathe, a blog post by Vanessa King

Annamarie Dillon | April 30, 2015

It gives us great pleasure to share the third blog post in the series for rare disease caregivers entitled, "Building Resilience" by Vanessa King.

If you had a magic trick that could help you create a sense of space for yourself, feel calmer, think more clearly and even be more creative, almost in an instant, wouldn’t that be great? And really useful for times when you are feeling stressed, anxious, tired or overwhelmed.

Our lives can be so busy that we often feel we have no time to think let alone take a break. For sure, taking time out can be a challenge if we are a caregiver, running a patient group or under pressure at work …or even doing all three things at once.

The good news is that there is such a trick and it’s not magic, it’s a skill that we can all can learn. It doesn’t take any special equipment or money, we can do it on our own, anywhere we are. It just takes a bit of practice. We can start by doing it for just one minute. However busy we are, we can all find one minute.

So what is the trick?

It's focusing on our breathing. As we take air in through our nose and down to fill our lungs, and then breathing out and the cycle begins again. It’s that simple.

Why does this work? Well our minds are busy things - constantly worrying about what we’ve just done, what we’ve got to do or what might happen. By taking a minute to focus solely on our breath we literally create a little mental space. And it’s good for us, neuroscience and psychological research are showing that when we regularly practice doing this, there are all sorts of benefits for our wellbeing.

It isn’t always easy to stay focused, even for one minute, as thoughts have a tendency to keep popping into our head. But it’s not about stopping our thoughts, it's about noticing when our mind has wandered and bringing it back to our breath, again and again and again. This helps us feel a little more in control, a little less likely to be overwhelmed by our worries, a little calmer or more relaxed. Not bad for just a minute!

Why not try it right now? The attached guide gives you some more quick, helpful tips and there’s a link through to a fun video clip that has ideas for when to taking a minute to breathe might be especially useful and talks you through trying it out.

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