During our daily life we can become so caught up in what we are doing or what we are supposed to be doing, that we can lose sight of the essence of who we really are. We can begin to define ourselves solely by our roles as employee, employer, husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, friend, job-seeker, student etc. and these roles can pre-occupy us. We can loose sight of the fact that beneath all of these various roles remains a precious and unique person. An amazing truth is that for each of us there never has been and never will be an exact replica!
Getting into the habit of taking a moment each day to acknowledge and appreciate our unique self, apart from our roles, is an enrichiching and worthwhile experience. It is a way for us to develop and grow our capacity for compassion towards ourselves and others. It helps us to reflect upon our unique value and this simple act of self-reflection can actually enhance our performance in our many roles.
Whilst taking a moment for ourselves is to be recommended as a nurturing daily practice, it can be of particular benefit when we are experiencing great difficulties, conflict or stress in our lives. When we feel upset about something that has or has not happened or when we`re being hard on ourselves because we`ve made a mistake, this simple practice of givng ourself permission to take a moment, in the midst of our struggles, can be very supportive indeed. It is also beneficial in times of anxiety – before an interview or exam for example.
When we connect to our self in this simple way it can make us feel validated and stronger, almost as though we are our own best friend. We begin to feel more regulated somehow as we create an experience of greater connection to ourself and others. It can slow down the negative thoughts that may be racing around in our mind and provide some space for alternative more compassionate thoughts to enter.
You may be surprised to find that the practice of taking a moment needs to be focused initially on our physical selves. This is because the mind and the body are inextricably linked – if one is stressed, the other is too. It is much easier to calm the mind when the body is relaxed, as there is a constant feedback loop between the two and that`s why it needs to start with the body.
How to Take a Moment
It doesnt matter when or where, however it is best done sitting or standing.
Firstly do a Body Scan – notice your body from head to toe – notice where you are holding tension/tightness in your muscles – then consciously release that tension by dropping your shoulders, unclenching your hands and toes, relaxing your face and jaw.
Then commence Abdominal Breathing – breathe in for the count of 4 through your nose and out for the count of 7 through your mouth – pushing your abdomen out on the out breath. This reduces the production of adrenaline, which is a speed – up hormone. Three or four of these breaths will do.
If you like you can also say a Mantra to yourself – a soothing statement – something like “I`m ok and it`s ok to be ok”.
That`s all you have to do – so easy. The only difficult bit is giving yourself permission to do it daily. Enjoy your moment!
Dr Anita Corfe
CPsychol. DCPsych., BSc (Hons)
Reg. Psychol. PsSl., AFBPSs., EAP.
Counselling Psychologist & Integrative Psychotherapist