Sunday, May 9, 2010

Be Blessed: Nurturing Yourself with Mother's Love

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.”
-- Honore de Balzac

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.
-- Washington Irving

Mother's Day is a fantastic opportunity to show the Moms in your life your love and appreciation. It is also a fantastic opportunity to nurture and care for yourself as a Mother would. What better way to show yourself a little Mother's Love than to pamper yourself... Here are 5 Ways to Nurture Yourself (courtesy of

1. Breathe. It's amazing how often we forget to breathe properly and fully. Shallow breathing actually causes us to tense our shoulders and neck muscles and can lead to increased stress. Find someplace to sit quietly, where you will not be distracted. Sit either in a comfortable cross-legged position, or with your feet flat on the floor (sitting nice and tall, not slouching), or if you prefer, lie flat on your back. Gently rest one hand on your stomach, and the other on your shoulder. Close your eyes, and gently tuck your chin ever so slightly in toward your chest. Inhale deeply through your nose as best you can, keeping your mouth closed if possible, for a slow count of 3. Feel the hand on your stomach being pushed out as your stomach, lungs and diaphragm fill with air. If you notice your shoulders rising, use your hand to gently press them down. Exhale for an equally slow count of 3 through your nose and your mouth, feeling the air being pushed out of your stomach as it contracts. Repeat 10 times. You can work up to inhaling and exhaling for counts of 5 instead of 3, or holding the breath for a count of 3 before you exhale. As you do this exercise, try to think about nothing but your breath. Just be in the moment. If other thoughts come to mind, try to accept them, gently let them go, and refocus on the breath. You'll be amazed at how relaxed you feel after just a few minutes of focusing on, and listening to, your body.

2. Do something you enjoy. Again, even if for only a few minutes, allow yourself to do something relaxing that you enjoy. Examples might be taking a bubble bath, listening to music, reading a chapter of a book or magazine, petting your cat or dog, sitting outside on a bench, or calling a good friend. Whatever the activity, make sure it is soothing to you, and try to focus your mind only on what you are doing, not on what you have to do once you are done with this activity.

3. Release endorphins. Endorphins are a natural chemical in our bodies that essentially create a "natural high", and are best released through some form of physical movement. Try taking a walk or bike ride, doing some stretching or yoga, swimming (if you have access to a pool), dancing around your living room to music, or playing with your pet. Again, remember that this is time for you - try not to allow thoughts of everything else you have to do intrude on this time.

4. Express your feelings. Keeping feelings bottled up inside only increases the likelihood that they will explode in unhealthy ways down the road. Try to communicate openly with your loved ones, explaining how you feel and what you need. This skill may take some time to master, and can definitely be worked on in counseling. You can also explore alternative ways to communicate - try writing in a journal, drawing, painting, singing, or playing a musical instrument.

5. Laugh! Laughter is very therapeutic, and can also release endorphins just as exercise can. Watch a funny TV show or movie, read a funny story, or talk to someone whom you know will make you laugh.



Miss Moon's Musings

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