Gratitude changes everything.
Think about a situation where it felt like it took every last ounce of your willpower to stay cool, calm and collected. As I write this, I have to admit that my moment just happened a couple hours ago when I just couldn’t handle it anymore…my kids seemed to be crying about e-ve-ry-thing!
I tried to stay calm, but that calmness muscle in my body had been fatigued, and I lost my cool. I threw my son’s‚ yet-to-be-eaten supper in the sink after he changed his mind twice about how he wanted it cut up, but then didn’t want it cut up. Let me just make it clear that I actually did throw it like a ball through the air into the sink. It felt really good at the time. However, my time with my kids is precious and I don’t want to waste it by being frustrated and impatient. I was able to recognize this quickly, and use some tools I have learned as a wellness professional and parent to make the best of this situation.
I stepped away and took a gratitude breath.
Sit or stand up nice and tall through your spine. Place your right hand on your heart and your left hand over your belly button. Breathe in slowly through your nose and let the air travel through your chest and all the way down into your belly so that your bottom hand in gently pushed out by your belly.
Hold that breath for a second and then slowly release the breath so it takes slightly longer to breath it out than it did to breath it in. Continue this slow, deep breathing pattern for as long as you’d like. The hand that is on your heart reminds you to think of one thing that you feel grateful for at the moment. If it’s hard for you to come up with something, you can be grateful for a beating heart!
Consider using this exercise once per day at a point of transition and savor how it makes you feel‚ perhaps more settled and happy! Better yet, try it with your kids! Using the breathing ball, or Hoberman Sphere, can help children visualize this breath work as well.
Another tool that helps inspire calm is a glitter jar (aka: calming jars, mindfulness jars, relaxation jars). I have used them with adult clients as well we with my own children. Visit the Move Mindfully® Teachers Pay Teachers Store for a lesson plan on how to introduce this tool.
When you shake the jars, they show an excellent illustration of how our mind, body and spirits can feel when life gets too chaotic and out of control. As we watch the glitter inside the jar, we begin to take calming deep breaths all the way down to a relaxed belly. As those breaths flow in and out, we watch the glitter begin to settle to the bottom of the jar. We notice the top of the jar beginning to become clear once again. Then, we notice that our bodies are settling and our minds are becoming more clear.
It takes a matter of two minutes to notice the shift from chaos and clutter to peace and clarity. These jars can be used by people of absolutely any age which is why I am sharing the recipe with you. You can give these as gifts to people to show your gratitude for them. A win-win for all!
Create A Glitter Jar
- Container of your choice with a tight fitting lid
- Elmer’s clear glue
- Fine glitter
- Fill the container 20% full with glue. (use more glue if you’d like the glitter to settle more slowly)
- Next, fill the jar to the 80% full level with very hot/slightly boiling water.
- Gently stir the water and glue together until they are blended evenly.
- Add 1 tsp. of fine glitter and slowly stir into the water and glue mixture. (1 tsp. works well in an 8 oz. container. Adjust according to container size)
- Next, add room temperature water until almost full. Place cover on tightly, shake it up, and enjoy!
Hopefully these two examples, the gratitude breath and the calming jars, can be useful to you in the future to help you find find peace and calm. Each of us already has a toolbox of strengths, talents, support systems and techniques that we can have access to during difficult situations. Now, grab your tools, find your calm, and live on!
About the Author:
Brooke Campbell is a wellness coach, personal trainer and group exercise instructor. She believes in SAVORING experiences, living SIMPLY and SHINING with joy and abundance. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.