Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sometimes We Need to Just Stop and Breathe Again

Being married and being a parent have at least one thing in common. They are often hard. Life with a spouse or a child or two can become overwhelming even in the best of circumstances.

And sometimes when we're struggling we make things worse because of our tenseness, anxiety and frustration.

I was recently getting some physical therapy for my neck and back. My therapist, while a very nice guy, was at times ruthless, inflicting what he deemed necessary pain to stretch my muscles and tear away some of the congestion under the skin which none of us could see.

However, he would often say when he could see me grimace or hear me moan, "Just keep breathing. Take nice big breaths. The oxygen is important right now." You see as things got tense I tended to hold my breath trying to just gut it out. And while apparently others do that, too, it wasn't helpful.

In the same way when life is a challenge we can tend to just gut it out, push through and even run over others to deal with the pain. We yell at our loved ones, we push harder to succeed and we take less time off to relax and reboot. And that usually results in someone getting hurt.

If your marriage or parenting or work is causing you to be tense all the time and hurt those close to you maybe you need to stop and catch your breath, keep breathing and even sigh.  How?

First, slow down. Be sure you have a break in your day. Turn off the phone, put your computer away and silence the TV. Take a few minutes and talk to your spouse or just sit alone and think.

Second, do something that gives you more perspective. Read a book, talk to a friend, get counseling or pray. You're probably tense because you're looking myopically at your situation and there is probably some good news and helpful advice out there somewhere.

Third, make a fundamental change in your schedule. What are you doing that someone else could do? What are you doing that you simply don't need to continue? Where can you build in some regular "breathing," relaxing and recharging.  What hobby would you love to do again that has gone by the wayside.

Remember, you won't be able to handle the pain unless you keep breathing.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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