Thursday, November 14, 2013
COME CELEBRATE THE LAUNCH OF SWEETWATER SPRINGS CHRISTMAS
I will be joined by ten other authors who’ve contributed short stories to Sweetwater Springs Christmas: A Montana Sky Short Story Anthology. Throughout the day, we’ll be “chatting” and doing playful question and answers. Each hour there will be plenty of giveaways, and at the end of the day, commenters will be entered into a grand prize drawing for a Kindle Fire.
If you buy Sweetwater Springs Christmas: A Montana Sky Short Story Anthology before November 18th or during the time of the launch party, you can be entered into a grand prize drawing for a $100.00 Amazon gift card. Just forward your Amazon receipt to my assistant Mindy Freed at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The party starts at 9:00 am Pacific Time and ends at 5:00 pm Pacific Time. The two random drawings for the grand prizes will take place at 5:00 pm. I hope to see you there!
This morning after working until 3:00 am to finish the edits to Sweetwater Springs Christmas and send the story off to the formatter, I lay in bed reading emails on my phone. At some point, I became aware of feeling happy, and I set down the phone to explore and savor the emotion.
The first and easiest reason for the feeling was because the book--my focus for three intense months--was finished and turned in. Then I became aware of my cat sleeping on my legs. The heaviness of his body curled between my knees was both cozy and comforting. Third, I realized my breathing had deepened and become slow and relaxing, and that I’d unconsciously been breathing thankfulness in and out, expanding and contracting my ribcage and belly.
Deep breathing combined with a focus on feelings of gratitude is a meditation technique I often practice, especially during times of stress. For a few minutes, I take deep breaths making sure I fill my whole lungs, which will expand my belly. In other words, my stomach (not just my chest) poofs out. Then I exhale, pulling my stomach in.
At the same time, I concentrate on different things I’m grateful for. These can be as small as appreciating being snuggled in a warm blanket, or as large as my gratitude to all the veterans who have served our country. Or, as in today, I may just enjoy a general feeling of gratitude and wellbeing.
Both deep breathing and focusing on gratitude are excellent (and quick) stress reducing exercises. They each help our body and our brain become positive and calm. When combined, we feel the beneficial impact of both.
As we head into the holiday season, our stress level tends to increase as we add more tasks to our already busy lives. Thankfulness breathing is one of the best ways to help us de-stress, allowing us to better enjoy all the pleasures of the season.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.
Debra Holland, Ph.D