Thursday, September 19, 2019

Just Keep Breathin'

There's plenty of pop music that make me roll my eyes or straight up gag (I do not love it when you call me senorita). But always like it when Ariana Grande's song breathin comes on the radio. Sure, it's a little repetitive, but the woman is handing out some pretty good advice, honestly. Ariana sounds like she might be living with anxiety, frankly. I hope she has a good therapist. But maybe, like me, she is just stressed out. I've been stressed out, friends. I admit it. Pastor Megan's absence left me with more on my plate than I'm used to and I'm starting to feel it.

A couple weeks ago when we blessed our kids' backpacks for school and all our totes and bags with the assurance that God breathes within us. I even preached this whole sermon about breath and feeling the breath of God give life. Sigh. Sigh again. Seriously, that's how I'm breathing these days. Held breath and sighs. I'm having to remind myself of my own and Ariana's advice constantly.

With adults - and even teens and tweens - sometimes we can offer a simple reminder: 'Remember to breathe!' or 'Let's take a deep breath,' when we notice stress being held in the body. Helping younger kids to breathe when they're feeling stressed or anxious isn't always that easy. For one, who likes being told what to do? Second, it might seem counter intuitive, but I think we actually need to be taught how to breathe. I have a couple go-to methods for breathing and focus and mindfulness that I come back to. And I recently found one that I'm adding to the list.
1) Balloon - take a deep breath like you're going to blow up a big balloon. Form a small round balloon shape with your hands by your pursed lips (they're around the balloon's opening) and blow out, watching your hands grow larger. Do this again a few times until the balloon is the size of your open arms. Then let the balloon go up into the air. (I know: the balloon isn't knotted and full of helium; just go with it.) 
2) Birthday Cake - pretend you have a birthday cake full of candles in front of you. (You're really old, I guess). Take a deep breath and blow like you're blowing them out. Count aloud with your child or have them count in their head - how many candles did you blow out? 
3) Snake Breath - I is the new one got this one off of this resource from Barefoot Books. "When they are coiled and resting, snakes look around calmly, and when they are ready to move, they are slow and smooth. Sit up tall. Take a deep breath in, filling up your whole body. Pause and breathe out slowly and smoothly, making a hissing sound for as long as you can. Repeat for three to five rounds, feeling yourself slow down and become calmer each time."
Breathe, everyone. And then keep breathin'. The God of life breathes in you, in your kids, and in me too!

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