It should be so simple, but it’s amazing how many of us forget to breathe. In order for you to access clear thinking and relieve anxiety and tension—like a plant needs water—your brain needs oxygen. Remembering to breathe will help you take the edge off of your emotions so you can respond to any given stressful situation with calm resolve.

After completing the manuscript “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms” I realized that one of the most critical tools every one of us has in our emotional tool belt is quite simply our BREATH.  Breathing is typically an invisible process to us but conscious breathing can be the tipping point to experiencing greater peace and harmony within—especially when as “Mom” you are at the epicenter of nurturing, organizing, and taking care of all of your family’s needs.

We all know that stress is an undeniable part of life and how easy it is to let all the small stuff irritate us until it builds and we are ready to implode. With kids and the inexhaustible energy it demands, it is easy for one’s patience to fray. When the children go at each other the way siblings do; when they ignore your repeated requests for their attention and cooperation; when it’s five o’clock in the evening and your head is pounding and dinner, baths, and bedtime are still ahead; or when your teens give you attitude—it’s easy to snap.

In the busy-ness of my life I can sometimes become off-course and frazzled. In fact, I can get so muddled that I begin reacting to a situation from fear, or from anger, instead of remembering to access my vertical center and inner wisdom where I can respond to any given situation more gently.

If I am upset, angry, tired, or about to say something I may regret later, I make it a personal practice to BREATHE. This is a quick strategy that really helps you to hit your internal reset button so that you may access your mental clarity and respond appropriately instead of reacting from your emotions.

Here is a simple and easy-to-implement breath-work exercise, because breath and inner peace go hand-in-hand and can be applied in many different situations. Breathing before you speak or act helps set you up for composed communication, and breathing to find a golden pause of stillness within throughout your day helps to restore harmony.

Here is the technique I use:  Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and hold it there on the inhale. Breathe in very slowly while expanding your belly out as you take breath in, and then shift your tongue to just behind your lower teeth, opening your mouth slightly, and hold it there on the exhale while you let the air make a hissing sound as you release it (your tummy will return inward to a neutral position.)  Inhale deeply and exhale even longer allowing sound to escape, if it’s there, because this will relieve tension. Do this at least three times, and then pause for a few seconds holding your breath.  Repeat this several times and this technique will reset you, bringing you into composure.

You can also practice this breathing exercise as part of your early morning ritual to get off to a peaceful start and to begin your day anew. The heart of every home can be filled with peace and harmony that begins with you. JUST BREATHE!

Kristine Carlson captivated readers worldwide with her first three bestsellers Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff in LoveDon’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Women and An Hour to Live, An Hour to Love: The True Story of the Best Gift Ever Given of her life with her late husband, Dr. Richard Carlson. In the first new book in the Don’t Sweat series since Richard’s passing, Kristine shares her wisdom with moms, offering tried-and-true advice that will empower them to find greater peace, joy, and harmony within themselves and their homes. Check out the new book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff  for Moms.

For more on Kristine, please visit her website, or on Facebook or Twitter

* Photo by chintermeyer