Listen to your intuition

A good breathing technique helps you in many ways; You wouldn’t try to exercise whilst holding your breath. There are mountains of good articles offering instructions, must-do’s, how-to’s, and rules to follow. Ahead, you’ll find answers to the why-do’s as well as meaningful, inspirational, and unique stories of the infinite ways people are living the life they imagine. Living Skillfully is about creating a life worth celebrating, worth remembering. As you’ll see, my philosophy is that the process of creation is far more important than the product. You’ll notice that in this article’s title, the word living comes first. To me, the biggest joy in creating things is how we use them to have fun while expressing ourselves to those we love. Living because we are engaged in making a life, and Skillfully because we do so with unbridled creativity, authenticity, and heart. In the end, that’s what all those scraparticles and hand-crocheted scarves and made-from-scratch birthday cakes really are–they’re like bridges connecting us to one another. They’re messages from our hearts, messages of encouragement, hope, laughter, and kindness. They lift the spirits of those around you and refresh your own sense of self. Ongoing problems should not be ignored or tolerated. The positive components of the Sandwich Technique may need to be tempered by additional concern that the positives are becoming harder to identify. Advanced Artful Criticism The Sandwich Technique and the guidelines for delivering criticism discussed so far are engrained in fundamentals of effective human relations management. Now, let’s look at some aspects of the process of criticizing the work of someone under your supervision that raises the level of the art to an even higher plane. These are the more advanced techniques or skills, because they involve a higher degree of empathy, a strong investment in being attuned to the feelings of others, and a seasoned, big picture perspective about what is really important in leadership. It is naive to think that people receiving even well-communicated criticism will not have a negative, knee-jerk reaction to it at first. Managers should focus less on the common initial reaction that is bound to be more of an emotional reaction to criticism, and focus more on the secondary response–that is, the behavior in the days or weeks that follow.

Do not get too hung up on more immediate verbal reactions that stem from the emotional fallout of the criticism. Instead, have the judgment and emotional intelligence to stay invested in what happens over the days and weeks that follow, when feelings are less raw and the employee has had time to digest the interaction and potentially see it as an opportunity to make needed changes. In one year almost all of it will have been replaced. Now say to yourself: I am renewing my body with every breath I take. See your body as it really is– infinitely flexible, fluid, and forever in renewal. I am reversing my biological age: Biological Age Through Two Kinds of Deep Rest– Restful Awareness and Restful Sleep ACTION STEP #2 I am reversing my biological age through two kinds of deep rest–restful awareness and restful sleep. Same goes for labour and birth. Secondly, by remaining committed to a breathing technique you are ensuring that you remain relaxed and avoid panic breathing/hyperventilating. Finally, by focusing on your breath through each surge, you are redirecting your focus away from the sensation you are experiencing, which makes each surge more manageable. Instead of being swept up in the waves and feeling out of control, by sticking with your breath you are remaining calm and grounded. The counting that goes alongside the breathing technique or the visualisations can be hugely helpful in keeping you on track. In this article you will learn two very simple and easy breathing techniques. These alone will transform your labour for the better and I don’t say that lightly! I recommend practising them as much as possible so that they become second nature.

The first breathing technique, which I call `up breathing’, is a lovely calming breath and you can use it throughout the day to bring some relaxation into your life. Certainly a few rounds of this breath before bed will help you get to sleep. Of course we want the things and moments we make to be beautiful, but we should also see them as a means to a beautiful end–an expression of ourselves, of what we feel, and of what we feel for others. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that our creations don’t have to be perfect. They’re actually better when they’re not. What counts is that it–whatever form it takes–comes straight from the heart. As you start Living Skillfully–or return to Living Skillfully–be gentle with yourself. We have been conditioned to focus on whatever little thing isn’t quite right about ourselves, our creations, and our surroundings. Instead, let’s decide to focus on what is right, lovely, and beautiful. This is a simple concept, yes, but it’s transformative just the same. Many people today have been looking outside themselves for well-being and happiness when what they’ve been searching for has been inside them all along. It’s inside us, inside you and me. It might be useful to note defensiveness and discouragement, if it is very evident. After feelings are reflected, the artful criticism continues with a message that this discussion is not about the employee but the employee’s performance. The focus is not on the negative but on how to fix the problem so that positive things can happen in the future. But the employee will know that you are observing the affective aspect of the interaction, not just the issue itself. This can help the employee feel understood and result in the employee being more trustful of the manager. Before beginning interactions in which you will need to criticize a subordinate, ask yourself (or even better, discuss openly with a supportive mentor or coach) how you are feeling about this situation. Are you angry? Do you feel betrayed in some way?

Do you feel a need for retribution or to get even for something that occurred in the past? If so, your approach is likely to be emotionally charged. Experiencing restful awareness through sitting meditation with my eyes closed for a minimum of twenty minutes twice daily. Experiencing renewal and rejuvenation every night through restful sleep. Synchronizing my biological rhythms with the rhythms of nature. Agitation in body and mind Deep rest in body and mind Experiencing deep rest in body and mind is the next step to growing younger and living longer. An agitated body/mind system generates entropy, decay, and aging. A rested body/mind system fosters creativity, renewal, and reversal of aging. Since the body and mind are one, when the mind is deeply rested the body is also deeply rested. Of course, we know from common experience that our mind is rarely in this rested state. The other breathing technique, which I call `down breathing’, is a great one to use when going for a poo. So, the toilet is the perfect place to practise this one! To help, at the back of this article you’ll find a practice schedule which you can use if you wish. How much you practise is, of course, up to you, but the more practice you put in, the more effective all of these tools and techniques will be. To keep things super simple, up breathing is for the `up stage’ of labour, where the muscles draw up and the cervix opens. Down breathing is for the `down stage’ of labour, where the muscles begin to move downwards, gently pushing the baby out. The first thing I want to reassure you about is that you will know when you’ve entered the down stage and it’s time to change your breathing style, because you will feel your body beginning to push and you will feel your baby moving down the birth canal; It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-time mum-to-be, trust me;

It’s a bit like doing a poo. How do you know when you need to go? Just turn your eyes inward and you’ll see it. Making Connections Regardless of how old we are or the language we speak, we all wish to say the same basic things: Thank you, You’re great, You have made a difference in my life, I’m proud of you, I understand, I’m sorry, I love you, Good-bye. With these simple, powerful words, we build the intimate and meaningful relationships that give us purpose. A man from Vermont got into the habit of leaving his wife little notes. Nothing elaborate, just sweet sentiments like I love you or I can’t wait to get home to you tonight, jotted down on Post-it notes and then hidden in places where he knew she’d discover them during the day. She’d open a drawer and find a note, reach into a kitchen cabinet and see one, and so on. They were everywhere–from inside the dog food bin, to the laundry hamper, to the driver’s seat of her car. He was in the military and shipped out during the early days of the war in Iraq, where he was killed in action. On the morning of the funeral, his young widow put on her winter coat, placed her hands in the pockets, and found the last two notes, which he had hidden there for her as he left home. It is likely to come across as an attack, as punitive. The emotionally intelligent manager develops more natural introspection skills and a willingness to acknowledge how feelings affect behavior. It facilitates the self-control that is so valuable in these types of difficult exchanges. Humor is a great icebreaker and stress-reducer, and self-deprecating humor can humanize you in your subordinate’s eyes. A humorous, lighter touch requires substantial creativity and a good delivery. But when performed effectively, it can be very effective at minimizing defensiveness while getting the point across. Attempts at humor can lighten the moment and draw a smile from the employee being criticized. This can shift the tone of the interaction to one that is less contentious and stressful.

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