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6 Fun and Easy Steps for Families to Build Compassion Connection and Calm by Cindy Johannessen

Often our most cherished moments are the ones where we are fully present in the experience of living. Those moments where we are connecting in a compassionate and genuine way with our loved ones, our families, and ourselves. COVID-19 seems to have made those moments feel a bit elusive. What can we do to experience those special moments more often?
In the busy lives of today’s kids and parents, we often find ourselves wrapped up deep within our own thoughts. How often have you been mid-conversation with someone you love, only to realize you are stuck within your own head not paying attention to the conversation?

During the overload of too many of life’s to-do’s, we often find ourselves shifting from productive life management to more anxiety-filled reactions often based on fight or flight. Our breath becomes shallow, concentration is scattered, our heart rate becomes elevated, and we are easily agitated.

The fight or flight anxiety reaction is happening because we are overloaded, overworked, and overwhelmed. The more time we spend in this state, the less we are genuinely present within our precious lives. We are essentially practicing how to be stressed and anxious. And because of this, we may also be teaching our kids to practice the same thing. More importantly, the body gets better and better at whatever it does over and over. Essentially, the body is getting good at being reactive.
Fight or flight is beneficial when confronted with an actual life-threatening event. But regularly existing in the intensity of this state can be destructive to our health, and the health of our relationships. But what if I were to tell you that you can practice being present and focused by learning to relax – and the more you practice the better you’ll get at it?

FIGHT OR FLIGHT IS BENEFICIAL WHEN CONFRONTED with an actual life-threatening event

One powerful technique is to practice being calm, focused, and connected by learning to spend time paying attention to your breath and how your body is feeling within the moment. This can help pull the body and mind out from a moment of anxiety, and replace that anxiety with a sense of calm.
As an added bonus, not only will your focus become greater during those times you wish to be fully present, but your overall health can also improve as you learn to engage the world with a deeper sense of compassion and love. On the following page are 6 easy steps to practicing calm that you and your family can do together. Keep the practice light and easy, focusing more on how it feels within the body, other than what thoughts are pushing to distract your mind.

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About Cindy Johannessen

Cindy Johannessen (200 RYT. MBA. MEd.) is a registered yoga teacher and yoga studio owner with 19 years’ experience teaching yoga. She has had the opportunity to train with Tiffany Cruikshank of Yoga Medicine, Ray Long of Bhanda Yoga and Shiva Rhea of Prana Vinyasa Yoga among others.
Cindy has a deep love of the transformative power of mindful meditation and yoga movement. Her teaching focuses on developing body wisdom and understanding of the physiological and psychological principles that create functional fitness and mental well-being.

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