Notice – Breathe – Allow – Action
When we practice NBA² (Notice-Breathe-Allow-Action), we notice our experience, becoming aware of our body, breath and mind, and we allow our experience to be exactly as it is. We may feel unsettled, but if we resist our experience, this can cause tension and added discomfort or anxiety. What we resist, persists.
Resistance = Persistence
By allowing our discomfort, stress, anxiety or whatever our experience is, to be exactly as it is, we let go of any unnecessary tension and allow the experience to pass more quickly.
In a moment of stress or anxiety or discomfort, you can remember to practice this simple technique. Notice the fact that you are stressed and how it is showing up in your body, mind, emotions…take a breath to oxygenate your mind, relax your body, and gather yourself, suggest to yourself that this experience will not last forever so welcome it while it is here. Allow your mind to think its thoughts, your body to feel its feelings, your emotions to move.
- You can repeat in your mind – “I notice …“ then fill in whatever you notice about your body, breath, mind emotions…anything and everything about your experience. Notice the position of your body, are you seated or standing, slouched or upright. What parts of your body can you feel? What parts of your body are touching the ground or a chair? What sensations do you feel and where in your body do you feel them? You are not trying to change these sensations just notice any tension, or tightness or looseness, hot or cold, any and all sensations. Just noticing what you are feeling.
- Now Notice the thoughts you are having – not trying to change or fix any of them. Notice what you are thinking about and any tension in your head, neck or face that is associated with your thinking. Allow your thoughts to be exactly as they are.
- Now notice your breathing, allow it to be exactly as it is. Notice if it is deep, shallow, tight, or loose, relaxed, whatever….
- Now deepen your breath by taking more air in through your nose and let it go out your mouth. Again, deep breath in, feeling the air coming in through your nose, and exhale out your mouth. Do it a few more times, maybe letting out a little sound like a soft sigh as if you are releasing stress. This is called letting go breath.
- Try it again: this time as you inhale, shrug your shoulders up to your ears, tightening your arms and fists then exhale relax your body and let your breath flow out your mouth. You can do it again with a big breath in and tense up all your muscles: your shoulders, arms, fists, tighten your face, your chest, your belly, your legs, your feet, your whole body tight, then exhale let all the breath go and let your muscles deeply relax. You can do this a few times. Then notice how you feel.
- Letting go breath can look different depending on the situation. It is a great tool to use in the moment to let go of stress and clear your mind so you can choose to act most skillfully.
What is your most skillful action you can take next? There are so many options. You might be in a situation where you have to interact with people to the best of your ability. Your breath can help you. Maybe you have the space to be alone and can do some quiet belly breathing or other mindfulness practices to relax yourself, like journaling or the “I am aware of…” practice or calling a friend or thinking of things you are grateful for.
Maybe it is going for a walk, or cooking or listening to music or reading, or going outside and breathing some fresh air, or calling a loved one. Or maybe the best thing for you to do is cry and release some emotion. Feeling is healing so being sad or angry and safely releasing these emotions can be helpful and healing. Some other questions to ask yourself to reveal what is the most skillful next step for you to take are: How can I be really kind to myself right now? What would be really nourishing for me right now?
Allow yourself the space and permission to be human and nourish you with all that you need to recharge yourself.
Connect to know more about Ivy Child’s Mindfulness offerings.NBA²