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When nuthin’ goes right for nobody

No drugs necessary, just breathe

Ever have those frazzled times with the kids? And spouse? Where everyone seems irritable? Where each family member appears to be a nemesis to each other’s happiness? Ever have a day, a week, or more, where “nuthin’ went right for nobody?”

Sometimes when our family is in a tizzy and a funk, a solution seems invisible, and the emotional energy in our home feels like a keg of warm TNT. There is one solution for calming and redirecting a situation that is always available to us. It’s so simple that it is easy to forget, much less remember to help others learn.

The secret? Breathe, and breathe deeply. And repeat.

Julia Cohn, a mother of two children under the age of five, was frustrated with dealing with the emotional ups and downs of her children’s behavior. Julia found herself becoming negative about her family situation and realized that her emotions permeated her entire family. The old age stood: If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Change needed to occur and it had to begin with her.

Drawing on her previous work with meditation and yoga, Julia began to focus on her breathing and found that life became calmer. She realized that if she taught her children these breathing techniques, it could only be helpful. As she introduced her children to simple breathing techniques, Julia found that her children loved doing the exercises, and learned to focus on their breathing when life started doing the jitterbug.

To help rest of us, Julia wrote a book for children. Illustrated with child-like drawings by Gerarda Connolly, Just Me and The Trees, steps through a simple breathing exercise. The illustrations will help even a three-year-old remember the simple sequence.

Getting more oxygen to our brains and to our muscles is the key ingredient to having our mind and our bodies work better. We have two easy ways to do that: breathing deeply and drinking adequate water.

Our bodies are 65 percent water. Our brains are 75 percent water. Water, H2O, is made from two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. Our minds and our muscles need oxygen and water for optimum functioning. To help us be our best, what do we need to do? Breathe effectively and stay hydrated.

When body oxygen levels drop, decision-making abilities are diminished and reaction time is slower. Headaches and muscle aches are a common side effect of oxygen deprivation.

Don’t have time to learn a yoga breathing technique? Dr. Phil McGraw, in Family First, writes that one of the most efficient and effective ways for calming emotions and stimulating brain function is breathing. No drugs necessary. To focus and engage the mind, Dr. Phil recommends inhaling for a count of five and exhaling for a count of five.

When “nuthin’ is going right for nobody” remember to get a drink of water and breathe.

Practice daily with your child so that efficient and effective breathing becomes a habit and a behavior management tool for all your family members.

Written by Maren Stark Schmidt

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Maren Schmidt is a certified Montessori teacher with the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and holds a Masters in Education from Loyola College in Maryland, as well as a BA from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in Interpersonal and Organizational Communications. Maren founded a Montessori school and has over thirty years experience working with children.

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