Hey kids! Hey teachers! Are you feeling a bit nervous about the start of a new school year? That’s a good, healthy thing, you know! It is perfectly normal to feel anxious when facing a challenge or beginning a new adventure.
The nervousness we all feel at times like these is simply the awakening of our creative energy. It’s fuel for life. If we resist it, we feel fear, but if we welcome it, we feel excitement! You can learn to channel your life force in ways that not only help you to overcome fear and anxiety but assist in meeting and mastering any challenge.
The secret is to practice conscious breathing combined with deliberate relaxation, and positive imagery. Elite warriors do it, Olympic athletes do it, yogi masters do it, great artists and peak performers in every field do it, and so can you! Breathe slowly into your lower chest and belly. While you do, imagine beautiful scenes and wonderful feelings, like joy and success. Consciously open and expand, and deliberately relax and let go with every breath.
Practice “Triangle Breathing”
Breathe in for a count of four; breathe out for a count of four; then pause for a count of four. Count to four on the inhale, count to four on the exhale, and then count to four before breathing in again.
Inhale 1… 2… 3… 4… Exhale 1… 2… 3… 4… Pause 1… 2… 3… 4….
Practice this while waiting for the bus or when standing in the lunch line. Use it before an exam. Do it when negative thinking begins to cloud your mind or make your body tense. In this way, you’ll gather all that nervous energy and channel it in a very healthy and productive way.
Remember the ancient Chinese proverb: “Where consciousness goes, energy flows.”
Imagine breathing into your brain to calm and clear your mind and to fuel your thinking before a test. Breathe into your legs to give them energy before you run, jump, or play. Breathe into your hands before art class. Breathe in rhythm to your footsteps when climbing stairs, or when walking to and from class.
Take a long slow breath in through your nose when you want to commit something to memory: a geographical map, an historical date, a chemical or mathematical formula, or a musical phrase. This simple practice has been proven to improve recall.
Give yourself energizing and relaxing breaths from time to time throughout the day, because as Mark Divine, my friend and Navy Seal Commander, says: “It’s easier to keep up than it is to catch up!”
One last tip: Place your hands on your chest for a few minutes every day and breathe positive, loving energy into your heart. Do this to honor yourself for being the best you can be, and as a way to generate gratitude for every beautiful challenge life brings you!