With much stress, pleading, threats and exasperation, you managed to get the kids to school just about on time. You’ve made it through the daily commute without screaming (out loud….too much!) and you’re sat at your desk contemplating your day ahead.

You’re exhausted already, and you know that things are just going to get worse. When you switch that computer on, it begins. You’re already feeling guilty for the way you left the kids, already feeling like you’re detaching from the work you have to do, already know you will spend time this evening feeling guilty about not being as effective today as you think you should be.

Isn’t life supposed to be more than a never ending cycle of guilt, stress and exhaustion?

Yes. It absolutely is. You can make it be so. And you can start right now.

Breathe the stress away

Before you go into the office, switch your laptop on, or open your emails, stop.

Close your eyes.

Take a deep breath.

girl in front of purple flowers, relaxed deep breath at peace

Feel the breath going down deep into your lungs, focus all your attention on that breath, feel your body taking it all in, then let it go completely. Take your time over this breath. Keep your attention entirely focused on it.

You don’t have to worry about anything else. Not the emails, not the meeting with the boss, not the office gossip, the traffic, the stress of the school run, none of it matters right now.

That is all in the past or the future. All that matters right now is that one breath.

After you’ve taken one deep breath, and let it go, take another.  Focus completely on that breath, nothing else matters, just that breath. Keep your thoughts coming back to that breath. Savour it, feel it, really experience it.

Now one more. Again, all that exists in the world right now is you and your breath. Enjoy this moment. Really be in this moment.

So far, you have taken 3 deep breaths, and I bet you already feel better don’t you?

Let’s deepen that feeling………

Be thankful

Grab a piece of paper and write down three things you are grateful for right now.

It can be anything at all, it doesn’t matter how big or small.

It can be the fact that you made it to work. It could be the fact that it is Friday. The sun might be shining. It might be raining, watering the plants in your garden. You may have a fantastic cup of tea in your mug. You might have enjoyed breakfast. Maybe you saw something that made you laugh.

It really doesn’t matter what the reason for gratitude, all that matters is that you feel it. If you have more than three things, don’t stop at three. Stop when you run out of things, the more the merrier!

It only takes a minute

This needs only take a minute or two in total, to do the breathing and the gratitude list. You probably spend longer fretting and stressing. I know I do. It takes hardly any time, and the benefits you will get from this could last you all day!

You can do this whenever you feel overwhelmed, guilty, stressed or any other negative feeling. You can list things in your head if you don’t have paper to hand. You can take the breaths with your eyes open if closing them isn’t possible. It still works.

You can find out lots more about the benefits of both better breathing and gratitude throughout the pages of this site, and if you would like to go deeper, the 21 Days to Balance Self Discovery Challenge might be perfect for you.

In the free 21 day challenge, I will guide you through some simple but effective strategies and reflection prompts that can help you to relax your body and mind, create space and presence and help you to connect and understand yourself better. You can find out more about the challenge here, or register below to get started right away

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Esther Nagle
Teacher, writer, speaker at Balance and Breathe
Esther is a former alcoholic, smoker and all round stressed out mess. She found the path to health, happiness, freedom and joy through Yoga. She is a passionate advocate for the power of Yoga, and time in Nature, in bringing balance to life, and giving you control over your health, happiness and wellbeing.

Esther is a powerful public speaker, writer and author. Her first book, Bent Back into Shape, Beating Addiction Through Yoga, has gained many 5 star reviews and has helped many people along their recovery journey.