By Elaine Smookler, mindful.org

This four-step practice helps us put space between ourselves and what, or who, is bothering us.

Mindful Practice: Ease Stress and Calm Agitation

1. Find somewhere to sit, stand, or lie down that gives you a sense of safety and stability. Take three deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Then settle into a natural breathing rhythm.

2. Feel your forehead relax, along with your eyes, your jaw, your whole face. Feel the relaxation and release of your neck, your shoulders, and your belly. Imagine a radiant sun beaming from within your heart. Picture yourself at the center of this warm and welcoming light.

3. Send these intentions to yourself, pausing before each repetition to just rest in the space: May I be free from suffering. May I find peace and joy. See if you can rest in these wishes for your own well-being.

4. Picture someone you have not been able to find common ground with. You may never agree, but you can notice that even this person likely wants to feel safe and suffer less. Allow yourself to gently offer these words, noticing how it makes you feel: May you be free from suffering. May you know peace and joy.

5. Notice your breathing, your body, and your mind. Are you feeling more ease or less? Are you feeling more agitation or less?

Keywords; stress, agitation, breathing exercises, mindfulness