Count to Ten or Breathe
by Irwin Lengel
How many of us remember hearing one or both of our parents use the expression “Count to Ten” whenever they got angry?
Back in the day, this was supposedly the sure-fire way to cool down when one was on the verge of becoming angry.
Lately some things have happened that have sort of thrown a monkey wrench in our plans for this summer. Now we could get upset and rant and rave but what would that accomplish other than get my blood pressure up and send me to the doctor. I choose not to take such drastic action. Instead I follow something similar to what we did when we were younger and got upset.
Today we are usually told to breathe – take a long breath – hold it in while saying one – exhale and then take another – hold it in and say the number two – and so on until you reach the number ten.
Naturally if it is something that really has you frustrated and angrier than usual, you should probably do this until you reach the number twenty. Those of us who have meditated on occasion, might recognize that this is a form of meditation. It is the systematic rhythm of counting and breathing that relaxes the mind so much so that it is almost impossible to remain angry once you have finished.
It is the oxygen intake you are getting due to the breathing in and out while counting that enables our brain to sort of relax by the time the entire counting process of one to ten or one to twenty is over.
This enables one to get a better perspective of the whole picture subsequently making the so-called “big stuff,“ (the problem or dispute), to look like “little stuff.” Believe it or not, this little exercise works well whenever we get frustrated too. So, next time you find yourself – how shall I say – a little out of sorts with yourself or a project you are working on – try this counting exercise.
One could perform the exercise anytime during the day or week if for no other reason than to keep us calm and prepared for whatever might come next in our daily list of things to do. One doesn’t have to be angry to do it as it has a great calming effect and keeps us focused.
Once you try it, you might just enjoy it as I do and sometimes just practicing it daily keeps me from losing my cool in the first place. Besides, I have become such a believer of the phrase “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!”
Until next time.