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Misaligned head, heart and gut

When our head, our heart and our gut are misaligned, we suffer.  Our head says: you should do this. Our heart argues the contrary. And our gut is all-a-jumble.  

It doesn’t have to be big suffering, it could be subtle. So subtle you’ve been in this low funk for years – seemingly happy but not really. Edgy. Uninspired. Stuck. If it is big suffering, it feels like getting lodged in cement. 

Suffering often feeds on itself. Some of it turns into laziness. Some of it turns into anger and bitterness. Some of it turns to fear, unworthiness, doubt and judgement.  Some leads to depression and anxiety.  

Just writing this makes me want to shake it off like a dog shakes off water after they’ve taken a swim.

What happens next?

Sometimes, in our not-best-selves-times – we react by attempting to numb the messiness with unhealthy things like…zoning on social media, procrastinating, eating overly processed food or sugary everything, escaping into alcohol and drugs, overspending, gossiping – all to interrupt whatever we are feeling. 

We all know intellectually these patterns add to our suffering. Yet we do it anyway – why?  Because they give us a little break – a little bit of relief in the midst of ickiness. Yes, that’s it!  We want a little break – a little dose of happiness. But that list doesn’t make us happy…

How do we shift our feelings in a non-destructive way?  

Before we move on, we want to acknowledge that there is no one-thing but many-things that create change.  What we are offering here can perhaps start lightening the load a little at a time.  

Here is one simple, actionable thing you can do, right now, to start shifting from the messiness. 

  • Close your eyes. 
  • Take a deep, slow breath in through your nose. 
  • Fill the belly with your breath.  
  • And slowly let it out – taking a little longer with your out breath than your in breath.  

Simple.  Actionable. Free.

It’s no secret that taking a deep breath can shift your energy from sympathetic (anxious,  charged and reactive) to parasympathetic (relaxed, clearer and more centered). But do you do it?  Do you deep breathe deliberately and regularly – especially in the moments of suffering?

If not.  Start today.  Practice.  

How does one breath at a time really make a difference?  

We practice. We practice so often that it adds up to making a difference – like one drop of water in a bucket fills over time.  

How do we practice?  

We do it: One. Breath. At. A. Time.  We practice so we reclaim that lit-up place inside that’s got all the energy to get us to a new feeling. 

Next step: 

  • Place one hand on your heart and one on your belly. 
  • Take another inhale and exhale.
  • Smile at the end of the deep breath.  

These three simple, free tools – your breath, your smile and your hands connecting to the body – can gently shift you into a different energy. This mindful, heartfelt, gut-supportive approach helps flip the switch – and you might just feel a tickle of happiness.   

One step at a time.  

Over time. 

Adds up. 

It seems too easy!  

Yes. it is easy – that’s why it works.  Simple and easy means you will do it – no reason not to.  But you have to Practice it. Set an alarm. Write it on a sticky note. Put it in your reminders. Write it in lipstick on your mirror. Write it in marker on your hand. Make it your screen saver. Practice is the only way to create new patterns. 

When do I do it? 

First thing in the morning.  Before meals. Before phone calls.  During your drive. Before you speak. When you are triggered.  In the midst of an argument. When you have a deadline. When you are late. When your kids whine. When the dishes pile up. When you see a sunrise. When you pet an animal. When you look at a loved one. When you share a hug. When you smile at a stranger. When you see a sunset. Anytime AND All the Time. When you are too busy to stop – you stop anyway and breathe deeply and time slows down.  One step at a time.    

Next Level:  If you are already practicing your deep breathing – with a bonus smile and hands on your heart and belly – and are ready for something new:  I highly recommend the following series on the app Insight Timer.  It’s called Peace Beam: 5-minute daily meditations that will support the alignment of head, heart and gut.  It’s good for beginners or experienced meditators. 

Here’s to getting our mind, heart and gut aligned, one breath and one smile at a time.  

Happy practicing!

Debbie and I will be sharing more ideas at our upcoming workshop: Compassion for Your Inner Critic.  Registration is open.  Claim your spot here: https://nourishcoaches.com/learn/workshops-and-events/

In the meantime, listen to our Nourish Noshes podcasts that are similar in subject. We have some great interviews with teachers, authors and like-minded thinkers. 

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