Behavior strategy for the week – Ha. (No, not as in laughter – though this is a good strategy, as well.) Ha, as in the Hawaiian word for “breath” or “breath of life”. This is such a simple reflex that we take it for granted. Perhaps, that is the problem. On the mainland, it seems as if we are always in a hurry, rushing to keep up with our calendars and all the tasks associated with the normal routines to which we are accustomed. From what I am experiencing, Hawaiians do not appear to have the same problem. Don’t get me wrong, I am certain they face obstacles – but they also appear to handle issues in a much calmer, less frantic manner.
Is it any surprise the people in the state of Hawaii lead the nation in life expectancy? Yep. They live longer. I’ve always attributed this to my assumption that Hawaiians are just happier people. (I mean after all, they live on a tropical island) In reality, I think the reason for the longer life expectancy has more to do with the importance of breathing and what it represents to the Hawaiian people.
Breathing (deep, cleansing, feel-it-in-your-toes breathing) does so much more than simply sustain our life. One really good deep breath can slow us down, send oxygen to the brain, provide us time to think before responding to a situation and really go a long way in getting us out of a brain crisis that can turn into a power struggle. It is a simple strategy that can have a profound impact.
So, what is the lesson? Move to Hawaii. However, if that is not a viable option, perhaps the next best thing is to take a lesson from the Hawaiian people and breathe. Slow down, wait, don’t talk…and just breathe. It won’t fix everything, but in my opinion, it sure is the best first step for any behavioral strategy that is to follow.