An Easy Way To Release Stress and Chill Out More
If you want to create more space for yourself and your own goals in life, you NEED to know how to “find your exhale.”
(And no, by finding your exhale, I don’t mean knowing how to literally breathe in and out!)
What is “finding your exhale”?
What I mean is the kind of exhale and deep release that Whitney Houston talks about in the nineties movie, Waiting to Exhale.
It’s that moment of time where you feel the day melt away and you release stress, tension, or anything else negative you’ve been holding onto.
It’s the moment of the day when you sink back into yourself.
And the most important takeaway about finding your exhale is that this is a passive activity.
It’s not something you need to think about – it literally just happens (remember the movie!)
You just need to identify the thing – or things! – which give you that exhale.
This matters because finding your exhale is a shift that can enable you to let go of pressures in life which sometimes feel overwhelming.
Our minds and bodies are incredibly powerful, and this strategy enables you to take notice and advantage of something that they do effortlessly and automatically, to allow yourself to feel more grounded.
Which means that this blog article isn’t about learning how to relax, how to discover new self-care practices or how to find alternative ways to relieve stress.
Instead, it’s about tuning into what already works for you.
Start to release stress
The first step towards finding your exhale is just noticing when your body and mind seem to instinctively release stress, let go, and relax, without any conscious effort on your part.
And when you notice which situations in your life prompt this kind of release, repeat them the next day and see if the same thing happens.
Because the thing about our minds and bodies is that they often run on autopilot.
So when something triggers a relaxation response, we sometimes don’t even notice.
Instead, we just plough on, oblivious.
But not any more!
Now that you’ve noticed which activities enable you to find your exhale and release tension, you can grab onto those moments of groundedness, and hold onto them.
Your body is always speaking to you: you just have to take notice and listen to it.
For example, in my own case – with my fourteen-month-old son, extremely busy work schedule, and partner who I’m still trying to have moments of genuine connection with on a daily basis – that moment of exhale, when I’m taking care of myself, usually comes after 9 PM, when I’m laying in bed in front of my iPad.
On my little screen, I tend to rotate through Friends, Frasier, Cheers, and 90210.
And each time that one of those shows starts, without any prompting or effort on my part, my body automatically does an incredible exhale.
I have to tell you, I seek this experience and time of day out.
Because I love how I feel in these moments.
They’re moments where I feel at peace and connected to myself, and where I feel deep physical and emotional calm.
Maybe they’re my moments of exhale because those shows bring me back to a time when my only responsibility was coursework for school and seeing my friends.
Because life – and all its magic and amazingness – has also brought an incredible amount of responsibility with it.
So for my own survival and sanity (!), I need to know how to find my exhale in order to be able to cope with those responsibilities and pressures, so as not to completely lose sight of myself and my own needs in the process.
Really, the two things are intertwined.
Because finding your exhale helps you create more space for your wants and dreams – and vice versa.
If you’re not sure which strategy to get started with, I’d suggest finding your exhale first.
Especially if the idea of creating more space for yourself, and getting back in touch with your personal ambitions and goals (not the ones that are related to your family or spouse or work targets…) currently feels too overwhelming to contemplate.
If that’s where you’re at, spend a little time figuring out what your exhale is, instead.
Take your first step
Your exhale may be something simple like listening to your favorite song… or singing it out loud and dancing like nobody’s watching!
It may mean digging out your favorite sitcom from a time in your life when you were more carefree, and settling in for a few episodes.
It might mean eating your favorite childhood comfort food or cooking a favorite recipe.
Whatever it is that will bring you your exhale, have a go at doing it.
And please, know that I see you.
I feel you.
I’m right there with you, I know what you’re going through, and I have your back.
Now let’s go find your exhale!
Drop me a note in the comments to tell me how the idea of finding your exhale makes you feel, and what you think it might be!