Present Moment One: Stop, Drop and Breath

by Underdue Support on September 20, 2011

Stop, Drop and Breath

We talked in a recent post about living in the present and I promised a Present Moment Series. The series will include examples, exercises, and ways to enjoy your present moments. Here we go with Present Moment One.

There is simple fire safety technique called Stop, Drop and Roll. You remember it. You probably heard it yourself when you were in school. If your (or someone else’s) clothing catches on fire, it’s important to keep your wits about you and remember to “stop, drop and roll”. The concept came about because people faced with this situation felt panic and started running around frantically, thereby making the situation even worse. Pause and remember the saying. Stop, drop to the ground and roll to put out the fire.

I am sure at this point you have to be asking yourself what this has to do with saying in the present. Well, I have decided to change the saying just a little and we are going to try a month of “Stop, Drop and Breath.” Today we all spend a great deal of our time running around like we are on fire. We have to get the children to the next event, game, or lesson. We are late for our choir practice or our community meeting. We have to get home to help our teenager with their homework (after we study up on the subject ourselves a bit first). We are constantly in motion.

When you are constantly moving it is very difficult to experience the present. Your mind is on the next place you have to be, the location of your car keys, the directions to the meeting, or the list you have to be sure gets accomplished. You are either thinking about what you haven’t done yet or what you will be doing next. But what are you doing right NOW?

So we are all going to begin using “Stop, Drop and Breath.”

First you stop. I know, I know, you are late. You don’t have to stop for 3 hours, just 3 minutes. Then you Drop. This could mean a lot of things. You might just drop that arm full of stuff you have been carrying around because you know you have to have all of it with you at all times. You might just drop into a chair. I know, I know, you are late. You don’t have to drop in the chair for 3 hours, just 3 minutes. After you drop into the chair you have interrupted the constant motion that has been moving you up to this point. Then you breath. Now, the breathing thing may seem obvious to you. “I’m already breathing, you are thinking.” Well, sort of. Most of us breath using a small portion of our lung capacity. We really mostly puff. Small little shallow breaths that we know won’t take a lot of time and will just get us enough energy to get to the next place or complete the next task.

I have gotten much more aware of breathing since my Mom developed a lung condition. She would love to be able to take deep breaths. It’s made me much more aware of breathing deeply. That’s the kind of breathing I am talking about here. It’s the kind of breathing where you count to 10 on the inhale and 10 on the exhale. Try it. You will find that we breath that way very rarely in our everyday routine. You might find it feels kind of good.

When you breath – that is really breath – you are forced to notice your present. You hear things you hadn’t paid any attention to when you were moving. You notice how your shoulders feel and how tight your neck muscles are. Depending on where that chair is that you “dropped” into, you might actually hear the wind, or a bird, or even children playing. And you just might find out something about your surroundings or yourself. It’s amazing what happens when you experience you precious present moments.

I know, I know, you are late. You don’t have to breath for 3 hours, just 3 minutes. And trust me. This may be the best 9 minutes you have spent in awhile.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Deborah V. Hall September 22, 2011 at 8:19 am

Thanks. I’m about to take a very important test tomorrow. Preparing for it, has really been hectic. Morning, noon and night, all I can think about is this test and the possibility of having to do a re-take. Wake up thinking about it, go to bed thinking about it. I read your article and I just ‘stopped, drop and breath’.
It did snap me out of that trans. Thanks for a ‘spurt’ of relief .


Dr Peggy September 22, 2011 at 9:15 am

Glad it helped. Give yourself permission to do it more. Watch for our other present moment exercises.


Kelly October 3, 2011 at 7:59 am

Staying present in the moment is definitely something that can improve not only my emotional health, but my physical health as well. Stress related illness cause many visits to the ER as well as many chronic conditions. Thank you for reminding me to breathe and stay in the present. After all the present is a gift! We must take three minutes to cherish this gift of being present in the moment. I really needed to see this reminder, Peggy.


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