It’s a new year and we all want to make it a good one—for our families and for ourselves. Our hopes are often wrapped up in the familiar ritual of making a long list of resolutions, which too often fall by the wayside soon after the first weeks of the new year.
Maybe K.I.S.S. is the answer. We all feel better when we feel loved and a kiss makes that feeling come alive. As delightful as that sounds, I actually had a different K.I.S.S. in mind, which hopefully will lead to many more kisses in 2013.
The acronym, Keep It Simple Stupid, (please excuse my name-calling and disrespect) has lots of promise. Instead of creating a lengthy list, one single New Year’s resolution—that is sustained—may reap rewards beyond our dreams.
Good. Well, here it is: I commit to practice the relaxation exercise daily.
Those of you who have read my book, Bring Out the Best in Your Child and Your Self, are already familiar with this exercise. Those of you who haven’t read it can find the exercise on my Facebook Page.
What Makes This One Practice So Valuable?
It offers many benefits without hard work?
It reduces stress!
Excessive stress can undermine our best intentions.
It transforms tension.
Changes it into the tranquil energy of loving wisdom.
It’s practical in our busy world.
It takes only two minutes—meaning it’s unlikely
that there are many legitimate excuses not to do it.
It has a built-in incentive.
It becomes more powerful each time it’s practiced.
How Can Such a Simple Practice Be So Beneficial?
The relaxation exercise contains two potent elements: breathing and visualization. Conscious breathing, when deep and focused, helps us reduce stress. With greater composure, we’re better poised to be proactive in our lives, to follow through on the goals we care about the most.
Visualization also has proven to be a reliable tool to help us realize our goals. It’s commonly used by athletes to enhance performance and by patients to promote healing. As parents, we can use visualization to enrich our family and personal lives. In this exercise, we use visualization as an alchemist: to change tension into the calm energy of loving wisdom, helping us to be the parents we want to be.
Whether we want to be more patient with our children, listen more attentively, or set clearer boundaries, with less stress we’re more likely to succeed. Whether we personally want to exercise more consistently, read more regularly, or complete unfinished projects, less stress provides an advantage.
It Only Gets Better
Since repetition strengthens the body-mind connection, the more consistently we practice, the more we’re able to sink deeply into relaxation and experience fully the tranquil quality of loving wisdom. Not just after doing the exercise, but throughout the day!
You’ll recognize the change. And so will your children. One mom laughed as she confessed, “Matthew reminds me when I’m off, ‘Mommy, go do that breathing thing; you become nicer when you do.’”
Help Yourself and You’ll Help Others
What stops us from doing that “breathing thing” or any discipline that supports our well-being? Resistance. We all have it. Marianne Williamson expressed it elegantly:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate…It is our light, not our
darkness that most frightens us… It is not just in some of us: it’s in everyone.
Let’s join together to overcome our resistance and fear. When we do, Williamson promises a ripple effect:
And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people
permission do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our
presence automatically liberates others.
Together we can let our lights go viral! Find the relaxation exercise here, and share your success stories with the Quality Parenting community.