As schools close due to COVID-19, we are all making an effort to adapt into a new, foreign territory where we may be faced with moments of difficulty and unsettling emotion. Below you will find four quick tips to help bring a sense of calm into times of stress and discomfort so we have the space to celebrate our moments of compassion, joy, and strength.
Stop. When something stressful occurs, stop, and take a step back. Before responding, notice the emotion that is arising. Notice how your student or child might be feeling. Notice the situation you are currently in. Pause and simply notice what is happening.
Breathe. Take five slow, deep breaths, counting to 4 on the way in, and 8 on the way out. You may feel its effects on your nervous system almost immediately.
Be Curious. Identify 5 things you notice happening inside of your body related to the emotion. How do your hands feel? How fast is your heart beating? How shallow is your breath? What are your thoughts saying? Studies show that resistance to our emotions can create discomfort and is what may cause us to react. Putting our curiosity lenses on allows us to see our current state through kinder eyes and create space for discomfort to pass.
Respond. We have taken the steps to understand our emotions; with that, we may see the level of impermanence that comes with them. We can now ask ourselves what we need to move forward. With a calmer mind, we are better equipped to address a previously unpleasant situation with awareness and compassion.