Here's another post from Darla Breckenridge, our psychologist-masters at Green Mountain. It gives you a peek at her sense of humor…as well as how she can zero in on ways to fit stress management into the most basic parts of our day.
A spot you frequently use is waiting to help you remember to breathe deeply. This convenient place allows you to sit down, take three deep breaths and say your affirmation. Can you guess what frequently-used place in your home or office or elsewhere I'm talking about? If you guessed the bathroom, you're right!
A deep-breathing group of participants at Green Mountain a couple of weeks ago recently renamed our bathroom THE AFFIRMATION ROOM. I am just getting ready to outfit the stalls in the downstairs bathroom at Green Mountain with their own beautiful BREATHE banners. This will be a reminder to add this wonderful stress-reducing technique to our lives. The banners we're using are created by Mary Hill, a local Vermont fiber artist who believes in the power of surrounding yourself with positive, affirming words.
This idea of THE AFFIRMATION ROOM sprang from our class on how to manage stress when we were discussing how to make behavioral changes. Behavioral changes, even with good intention and deep desire, are often difficult to maintain. Stress can begin to accumulate and create anxiety, rumination (the syndrome of the gerbil running around in the cage in your mind) and sometimes lead to chronic disease. Integrating proactive and reactive techniques to manage stress is one of many tools which we focus on including in your Green Mountain toolbox.
Breathing is the quintessential stress management technique. It's something we have with us all the time and we can use anywhere. The trick is remembering to pull it out of our toolbox. Deep breathing sends a message to our bodies to calm, brings more oxygen to our brains to help us think more clearly and gives us just a little time to decide on the path we want to take.
So that is where THE AFFIRMATION ROOM comes in. Take a seat, say your affirmation and take three deep breaths. If you are using the Green Mountain standard of drinking plenty of water, you will also be using THE AFFIRMATION ROOM with increased frequency. Thus you'll add renewing deep breathing many times in your day and good ol’ positive affirmations that decrease negative thinking automatically.
Adding positive behaviors to manage stress with as little effort as possible means that you have a much better chance of maintaining the new behavior in your repertoire and supporting your greater goals. BREATHE AND AFFIRM…you have everything you need.
Are you ready to repurpose your bathroom?