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Are You Lighting Your Candles?
November 25, 2015

Quick Relaxation Tool

Mini Relaxation Tools

When you’ve got one minute

Place your hand just beneath your navel so you can feel the gentle rise and fall of your belly as you breathe. Breathe in. Pause for a count of three. Breathe out. Pause for a count of three. Continue to breathe deeply for one minute, pausing for a count of three after each inhalation and exhalation.

Or alternatively, while sitting comfortably, take a few slow deep breaths and quietly repeat to yourself “I am” as you breathe in and “at peace” as you breathe out. Repeat slowly two or three times. Then feel your entire body relax into the support of your chair.

When you’ve got two minutes

Count down slowly from 10 to 0. With each number, take one complete breath, inhaling and exhaling. For example, breathe in deeply, saying “10” to yourself. Breathe out slowly. On your next breath, say “nine”, and so on. If you feel lightheaded, count down more slowly to space your breaths further apart. When you reach zero, you should feel more relaxed. If not, go through the exercise again.

When you’ve got three minutes

While sitting, take a break from whatever you’re doing and check your body for tension. Relax your facial muscles and allow your jaw to open slightly. Let your shoulders drop. Let your arms fall to your sides. Allow your hands to loosen so there are spaces between your fingers. Uncross your legs or ankles. Feel your thighs sink into your chair, letting your legs fall comfortably apart. Feel your shins and calves become heavier and your feet grow roots into the floor. Now breathe in slowly and breathe out slowly.

Blog Roundup

Types of Stress: Know the Frienemy

What Is Stress and What Causes It?

Anxiety and Depression

Feel Good Stuff

Are You Lighting Your Candles?

Brendan Francis correctly said, "No yesterdays are ever wasted for those who give themselves to today." The truth of that sentiment is beautifully explained in a recent novel.

In Ann Tyler's book Back When We Were Grownups, 53-year-old Rebecca is speaking to her grandchildren: "When I was a little girl..., my Aunt Ida gave me this beautiful, tall white candle with a kind of frill of white lace running up it in a spiral. I thought it was the most elegant thing I'd ever seen in my life. I saved it in my bureau drawer for some momentous event, although I can't imagine now what that would have been. I mean, I was only eight years old. Not a whole lot of momentous events happen when you're eight. And Aunt Ida would ask me, now and then, 'Have you ever burned that candle?'

"I'd say, 'No, not yet. I'm saving it,' I'd say.

"Then one day, oh, maybe three or four years later, I came across it in my drawer. It had turned all yellow and warped; it was practically a C shape, and the lace was coming off in crumbles. I'd never seen it burning, and now I never would. So ever since that time, I light my candles any chance I get. I light them by the dozens, all over every room, at every party from September through May. Multitudes of candles."

I got an email from a reader named Jennie. She pointed me to that passage and added that she had a similar experience with a gift candle she saved until it melted in the drawer. "I learned my lesson," Jennie said, "and have been lighting my candles, literally and figuratively, ever since!"

Are you lighting your candles? Are you enjoying each day to the fullest? Actually enjoying them? Or will you put off living for some future date? "One today is worth two tomorrows," noted Benjamin Franklin. I'll bet he knew the value of lighting candles -- and living fully -- before it's too late.

I've decided to light my candles TODAY. I've decided to find reasons to enjoy each day as if today were all I had. And if those "candles" burn all the way down, that is okay. For I will have replaced them with lifelong memories, which I somehow know, will be a good trade.

~ Steve Goodier of

Always keep in mind that a low-stress lifestyle never "just happens." Practicing relaxation and stress management techniques every day is the key to success. The more you practice, the more automatic it becomes.

Stay in the (k)now,


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