Guest Post by Libre Leading Light Dr. B Grace Bullock
Grace is a psychologist, scientist, organizational innovator, educator, yoga and mindfulness expert and author of Mindful Relationships: Seven Skills for Success – Integrating the Science of Mind, Body and Brain. She is the founding director and CEO of the International Science & Education Alliance, a consultancy firm that provides strategic visioning, mindful leadership, relationship and communication training, and research services. Grace is a scientist at the Oregon Research Institute, and faculty at Endicott College near Boston, MA. She is the contributing editor for research at YogaU Online, a regular contributor at Mindful.org and Yoga International, and former editor in chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy. www.bgracebullock.com
Creating Mindful Relationships in a Stressful World
Stress is hard on the best of relationships. Family, work, health, financial, and other concerns can wear down even the most resilient couples, leaving us moody, reactive, and less able to listen and communicate effectively. This usually occurs because the mind, body and brain are stuck in a stress feedback loop, which increases the likelihood that we will fight, run, or check out under pressure rather than be caring or attentive. We’re also more inclined to default to habitual patterns of thinking and behaving, as opposed to being with others in the present moment. Fortunately, there is a solution.
In my book, Mindful Relationships: Seven Skills for Success – Integrating the science of mind, body and brain, I introduce the BREATHE model – a collection of seven essential skills for building healthy, harmonious relationships. It includes:
- (B) being aware of your breath and its impact on your mental state,
- (R) relaxing using intentional breathing,
- (E) experiencing emotion rather than repressing it,
- (A) attending to your mindset and its impact on your experience,
- (T) taking purposeful pauses regularly, using
- (H) humour frequently, and committing to
- (E) engaging others mindfully.
Before you can do any of that it is important to get real about your stress level. When you’re stuck on a multi-tasking, overloaded hamster wheel it’s very hard to get a handle on relationship demands. Try asking yourself the following questions. How often do I feel unable to control the important things in my life? How often do I feel nervous, stressed or exhausted? How often do I feel as though I can’t cope with all the things that I have to do, or feel overwhelmed, anxious or depressed? If you experience any of these things frequently, there’s a good chance that you’re in a chronic state of stress.
Believe it or not, there is one, sure fire way to stop the stress cycle – intentional breathing. Take a few minutes each day or more and practice breathing as deeply, fully and slowly as you can, and see what happens. Slower, intentional breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, inducing the relaxation response. In short order you can increase your ability to remain calm, present, and focused even in the face of stressful life events. This is a great way to “breathe” peace back into your life, and harmony into your relationships. Give it a try. As Chinese mystic and philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” To learn more about BREATHE and intentional breathing see www.bgracebullock.com or to get more information about Mindful Relationships see www.mindfulrelationships.strikingly.com
Mindful.org has just published an excerpt from Grace’s book that has her favourite practice in it.
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Mindful Relationships: Seven Skills for Success – Integrating the science of mind, body and brain
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