“Whenever despair gets the better of you—or anger, or anxiety, or reactivity, or any undesired emotional/mental state—take your hand (either hand, or both hands) and place it over that soft spot in the center of the chest, what some traditions call your heart center, or your sacred heart. Feel the warmth of your hand on your chest. Direct your breath to that spot. Breathe in, pause, let your breath pool in the heart, feel whatever you are feeling, then slowly breath out. Do that several times. Hand on heart center, breathe in, hold, feel, release.
You may want to make an audible sigh when you exhale. Breathe in, hold, feel, release with a sigh. Ahhhhhh. Don’t attach any thoughts or judgements to the practice. There’s nothing to get, nothing to understand, just allow yourself to be a human with a heart that feels. You can pat your heart with your hand if your mind starts getting involved. Breathe in, pat your chest the way you would pat a baby or your pet, and then exhale with a sigh.
Sometimes I spend a good ten minutes calming and opening my heart. Sometimes I cry and am surprised by that. Sometimes I take in and release just one breath with my hand on my heart, and that’s all I need to ground my body, clear my head, and open my heart. I connect to something bigger than “little me”—anxious, fearful, little me. Hand on heart, and I rest for a moment in the big beating heart of what some people call universe or god or great spirit, or you fill in the blank. An open heart is my gate. It restores my hope, my energy, and my willingness to “be the change.”