By Judy Herman (Via Ezine Articles) — Do you normally come home from work after a stressful day expecting to relax, but then walk in and the house is a wreck? Do you identify with piled up bills, blaring TV or electronic games, clutter, and whiny children? Do you wonder what your spouse has done all day?
You have to be firm to be heard so you begin to order your children and spouse to immediately snap out of their illusion and straighten up.
Resistance hits like a sudden thunderstorm with flashes of lightning and a heavy downpour of rain. Tension builds until it’s no longer tolerable and everyone retreats to his or her best method of defense.
Do you find yourself with an “I-work-so-hard-all-day-and-no-one-cares” attitude?
If you identify, you may not realize how you may be setting the stage to get what you’ve got. You may be shooting yourself in the foot without realizing it.
Here is one of the most effective ways to change this cycle of craziness and tension. It’s a technique that, with consistent use, can potentially transform stressful situations into a relaxing peacefulness and connection. It’s called the seven-minute rule. Here’s how it works:
- Consider seven minutes before or after any and every transition as sacred space where there’s no confrontation, criticism, stern looks, demands, sarcasm, cynicism or any other negative interaction. Instead, be purposeful about loving and respectful interactions with your loved ones regardless of the environment.
- Let your children know you are glad to be with them just as they are. You choose to love unconditionally in that seven-minute sacred space.
Here’s an example:
You can set the timer on your smartphone for seven minutes after pulling up in the driveway. You may want to put a reminder on your dashboard with a 3″ x 5″ card that reads “seven-minute rule.” You’ll take a deep breath and breathe in an attitude of loving connection and thankfulness.
As you exhale, you’ll breathe out any expectations and stress from work. You may want to take about three or four deep breaths to give you the attitude you need for the seven minutes.
As you enter your home and leave your stress behind through the deep breathing, you’ll look into the eyes of your children and spouse and be interested in their world. It’s as if you’ll be walking onto “holy ground” in those seven minutes. Use it to connect, appreciate, and see the world through the eyes of your loved ones.
Think of any transition – whether it’s seven minutes before bed, or seven minutes when you wake up; seven minutes before leaving the home, and seven minutes when you arrive at your destination; seven minutes before sitting down for a meal, and seven minutes afterwards. Any transition is seven minutes of sacred and holy space.
Try it out for a week–7 days–and see how it works for you. I challenge you to try it for 21 days, as that’s the habit-forming magic number.
Judy Herman, Licensed Professional Counselor, is the writer of “Up for AIR: Awareness, Intentionality, and Risks.” She writes on relationships, spirituality, and mental health issues.