In the last post, I discussed the importance of using the breath to anchor your awareness to the present. One easy way to practice this is when you are stuck at a traffic light. This often frustrating situation provides a golden opportunity to practice breathing. So, the next time you are stuck at a red light, use this as a cue to practice slow, deep abdominal breathing. Sit up straight so that you can open up your lungs. Keep your eyes open because you don’t want to get too relaxed! Relax your muscles. Ease your grip on the steering wheel, inhale deeply for a slow count of 5, hold your breath for about 2 seconds, then slowly exhale for a slow count of 5.
If you do this, you will find that a situation that normally causes increased tension has now become an opportunity for increased relaxation. As you start to view traffic lights as an opportunity to practice relaxation, chances are that they will not annoy so much in the future. I’ll go even further – you might even look forward to getting caught in a traffic light so that you can practice your relaxed breathing. It might sound very peculiar, but it’s what has happened to me as I have practiced this technique over the past couple of years. Give it a try – you have nothing to lose – except maybe some stress!