Everyone experiences times that feel uncertain, frustrating, overwhelming – just plain stormy. When someone is expressing their emotions in a big way, we often feel a natural impulse to react with them. We join in their chaos.
During these moments, though, what most people need is a fixed point, an anchor, to stabilize them. They need someone to be the calm.
Being the calm means that we remain in control of our own emotions as we try to guide and care for the person we are with. We choose to balance their emotional reaction with our calmness in an effort to help them de-escalate. When they are at a 6, we stay at a 3. When they are at a 9, we go to a 2. This will take practice, since it can be really challenging to stay calm, especially when a situation also pushes our buttons.
Deep breathing can help. Deep breathing exercises are an effective tool to regulate our emotions. When we breathe deeply, our body relaxes and our feelings become less intense. This can help us maintain our composure. As we stay calm, we become an anchor for someone else when things are not going well, a source of stability, strength, and support during a difficult time.
In today’s Wellness Wednesday, we try a breathing exercise to help us be the calm.
As a class, group, or family:
Try deep belly breathing.
o Place your hands flat on your stomach or pay attention to your stomach.
o As you breathe deeply through your nose, send this breath all the way to your stomach.
o Feel your stomach expand and your hands move out.
o Breathe out. Feel your stomach contract and your hands move in.
NOTE: Breathing exercises, like any other skill, take practise. It is common to have trouble holding your attention on your breath at first. With practise, this becomes easier.
Ask yourself, there is no wrong answer:
How will I be the calm when someone is expressing their feelings in a big way?
What breathing strategy works best for me?
What is an anchor for me?
Connecting to our faith:
“We have our lives anchored in heaven.” (Pope Francis)
Easter is a time to reflect on God’s constant and unwavering love for us. God never abandons us. He is our anchor, remaining with us always, especially during difficult or uncertain times. Our Catholic faith teaches that we can count on God. We can count on the resurrection of our Lord.
VIDEO: Circular Breathing Exercise https://youtu.be/boT7p5kw-MQ
EDUCATOR RESOURCE: deep breathing exercises for elementary (https://smho-smso.ca/fw/stress-management-and-coping/deep-breathing/deep-belly-breathing/) and secondary (https://smho-smso.ca/fwsecondary/stress-management-and-coping/deep-breathing/)
EDUCATOR RESOURCE: “Breathing Strategies” virtual field trip https://smho-smso.ca/blog/online-resources/stress-management-and-coping-virtual-field-trips-breathing-strategies/
EDUCATOR RESOURCE: SEL VIDEO Just Breathe
CAREGIVER RESOURCE: “Easy and Fun Mental Health Activities for Home” (1st activity) https://smho-smso.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/EDMH-ParentActivities-FINAL-EN.pdf