Thanksgiving is now over and Christmas is just around the corner! Sometimes it feels like the days go whipping by and I want to just stop, breathe and take a moment to notice what is going on around me. It’s always a good time to pay attention to all the wonderful people, animals, nature, and places that are in the world. Even just to stop and become aware of our breathing, every once in a while, helps us to feel good! It's amazing how much we forget to focus on our breathing. We breathe every second of every day, but breathing is something we forget to FEEL in our body, as we're doing it- our body just breathes by itself. When was the last time you stopped and took a deep breath in and out slowly and continued to do this for a few minutes? I’m going to do it right now… Ahhh…that does feel so much better! My body is calmer, my head is clearer and I feel like I can face anything! Most people forget to practice their breathing because their bodies just do it automatically- as humans, we don't NEED to control our breathing. Imagine how awesome you'd be if you did control your breathing! Well...YOU CAN! You can't stop breathing and then start again whenever you want. We have to breathe non-stop to stay alive! But...if you practice enough, you can control HOW you breathe and use this breath to control your feelings! Yep, pretty awesome huh? YES, YOU ARE! I am too! It’s okay to remind ourselves of this-in fact, we really don’t remind ourselves how awesome we are enough! It’s silly how most people grow up with the idea that it’s not right to say that you love yourself…it IS totally okay to do this! It’s absolutely okay and necessary to remind yourself that you are a good person, you are beautiful (on the inside and out) and that YOU being in the world... makes it a better place! I try to remind myself of this as much as I can. I mean, I don’t brag about myself to others and think I’m better than everyone else. What I try to do is wake up every day, look in the mirror and remind myself that I matter, I am loved (at least by me) and I also try to share this love with those around me. I try to be kind, compassionate and fair. This means not judging other people about what they do and say. Even though this can be really difficult sometimes, I try to quiet my mind chatter and just feel kindness and compassion for everyone that I interact with throughout my day. The most important part of all this is taking some time for myself to just “be”. Besides, eating, drinking and sleeping, most days, I spend time with my family, walk, do yoga, read, watch a favorite movie, play with my dogs, meditate and of course, write. All of these activities give me a purpose in my life, allow me to relax, and fill me with happiness. I also remind myself daily of how much I’m loved, and most of all, I try to notice my breath. I take the time each day to pay attention to my breathing. If it’s a little shaky, I know I have to calm down and try to breathe deeply through these difficult feelings in my body. If my breath is too slow or fast, I know I need to take a rest. Like, when I’m finished a long walk, I try to rest awhile afterward. During this time, I always sit and remember how great my life is-even on the not so great days. I think I’m going to go practice my breathing right now. Why don’t you try too! If it helps, close your eyes and imagine how you are going to feel Christmas morning…hopefully, these feelings are filled with lots of happiness and love for yourself and the people you love! Happy Breathing…Trace Hi, I'm Tracy Bryan... I'm a self-published author for kids aged 4-12. I write whimsical picture books about emotions, self-esteem, values, and mindfulness. I also like to write about social issues and other important topics that affect kids and their families. If there is something that you would like to know more about and you wish there was a book about it, email at the address below. I live in Central Florida (near Disney World) with my family-my husband, son and two dogs named Jack and Rusty. I also have a daughter who lives in Canada with her boyfriend (who is also like a son to me). If you want to learn more about me, read the blog just below this one. There's pictures too! You can visit my website by clicking on any heading at the menu above. This will redirect you to tracybryan.com. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to hear from you and look forward to blogging and reading with you!