30 Days of Heart
A centering practice to reduce anxiey and stress, gain confidence and clarity, and just feel better whenever you want to.
Ever hear people say “follow your heart!” but that makes absolutely no sense to you?
You know that there’s a better way to move through life than with the cloud of thoughts and worry that you live in but don’t know how to make all the noise stop?
I have been there and lived that. I know it can sound airy-fairy. But having developed a connection to that place everyone was talking about I now know the power of connecting to my heart. It’s truly amazing.
I have a simple practice that's it’s the simplest thing ever, you can do it in a minute. But understanding it’s power will come with a little time and consistency. This post takes you through it step by step for one month. All you have to do is grab your phone and set a repeating calendar reminder twice a day for one month. Easy peasy. The power is in the habit.
This practice builds familiarity with yourself.
You’ll develop muscles that will help you understand the meaning of “follow your heart, it will lead the way.”
Choose a consistent time that you might have one to four minutes everyday to focus on your breathing. It could be at nap time and bed time for the kiddos, in the shower, or just before you walk into work. Just note, I recommend that as you begin you don’t do this in a moving car. Please don’t think you’ll remember on your own — that’s not how habit building works. It’s easy to just set a quick reminder to ping.
One minute of hand-on-your-heart, deep breathing, twice a day. Just sixty seconds. As you're breathing think of something you are grateful for... the same thing every day or challenge yourself to think of a different thing to be grateful for each time. Set an alarm or calendar reminder for one week (morn and eve) to do a quick check-in. Once you get the hang of it, you can do this in quick moments throughout your day.
It’s amazing for relieving anxiety before it ticks upward. And it leads to a sense of self awareness that’s amazing for confidence and clarity when you most need them. But it doesn’t come overnight, so keep up the good work!
Increase to 2 minutes of deep breathing twice a day. This time before you feel into your gratitude, take your attention down like an elevator to your chest. Here's what I mean.
Close your eyes. Feel your focus right behind your eyelids. Your eyes are still trying to see.
Move that focus back, as if your attention is in the center of your brain.
Then take that focus down slowly like an elevator going down, behind your nose, down your throat, down into your chest.
Feel your attention grow on your chest. Does it feel warm or tingly? Just notice.
Stay in this place of awareness of your chest for the rest of the two minutes. This is your 'heart space'.
Each day, twice a day, elevator down, deep breathing, notice what you feel. Can you feel a sense of slowness and calm coming in? Notice the shift. Don’t worry about putting words to them... just do a quick scan of your body. Where do you feel tension? Can you feel it release? Can you sense the calm in its place?
WEEK TWO BONUS ACTIVITY
RED LIGHT LOVE
Place your hand on your heart and focus on your breath at each red light stop, take your attention down like an elevator and slow your breathing, just while you're stopped. Does this help with anxiousness or anger on the road? Do you feel more centered when you arrive?
Try something new this week. You can take the ‘elevator down’ or do a quick shift. Can you go straight down into the awareness in your chest? Are you familiar with it? Is it easier today? Practice a few quick shifts throughout your day.
Shift, breathe deeply, feel your attention in your chest. Can you feel your amazing beating heart? Feel the tide change and calm come over you. Allow any tension to release, then rub your chest in a circle a few times with an open palm. Feel the warmth. Feel yourself relax even deeper. Can you do this for three minutes? That's just 180 seconds!
This week let's reach for two sessions of four minutes... You can do as you wake up and before you go to sleep or in the shower. You can choose to bring awareness with you in your activities or set aside time alone if you can get it.
Allow yourself to feel the down shift in that buzzing feeling your active body has day to day... can you feel it release just a smidge? You have a set point, a place that feels like home... comfortable, familiar, good. See if you can catch yourself in those moments today. When you say ‘Mmmm...’ to that first sip of hot coffee or tea, when you hug your loved one, when you see the sunset... all of these are a good time to shift into that heart centered feeling. Allow yourself to take it in.
The goal is to get so familiar with that good “homey” feeling within your body that you can go there any time. Some days and situations are easier than others, but you always have this ability. Regular practice gives you a sense of comfort with your aim. The more familiar, the easier it is to access this skill any time you need a sense of calm.
The more moments like this you can build into your day, the easier it can be for you to do it on a hard day, when something goes wrong, when you hurt or are angry. It is possible to access this feeling at anytime, it just takes practice. And that “follow your heart” idea... yeah, that comes from here. When you can shift into this gear, it’s easier to know if something is right for you or not. When making a choice, does it make you feel that good, warm feeling? Or does your chest get tight? That’s how you know.
You got this,