Two simple steps

Bob Hatcher

October 26, 2012

          Simplicity of life is something people yearn for but often find remarkably elusive.  It is so difficult to live one day at a time, take deep breaths or say the words “You’re probably right”.  I have heard an incredible number of wise suggestions that would lead me in the direction of a simpler, gentler, more straightforward life.  You have too. I know you have.

          Three people to whom I read almost all of these columns are Maggie Hatcher, Margie Hutchison and Charles Gandy. Recently I was sent a good suggestion by one of them, Margie Hutchison, my sister-in-law.  The quote she sent me came from Mother Teresa: “Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

Smiles are an excellent way to start out with each person I see in the course of a day. It is something I do most of the time.  But occasionally I fail at this miserably.  Maggie will say to me “Are you angry?” and I will know that I had just looked at her with some expression other than with a smile.  When we are near to someone we love dearly why do we often let our face say “I don’t know about you” or “Right now I just don’t care” or “I don’t like you” or “I don’t trust you” or “I’m just tired?” If you want to be expressing love for another person you have to NOTIFY YOUR FACE!!! A smile doesn’t cost any money.  I am going to give away my smiles more freely today.

Smiles are a great way to start contact with each person and they are also a step toward stress reduction. But here is the centerpiece of many stress reduction programs: taking slow, deep breaths. In fact, I believe it is central to virtually all stress reduction/meditation efforts. Try taking 5 slow deep breaths right now.  Pretty simple.  Costs nothing and if you took the time to do it I know a certain peace came to you.  It caused you to relax just a bit.  You liked it. If you didn’t do it the first time I suggested it, try it now! Take 5 very slow and very deep breaths. I am going to try to do this each time I edit this.  I will have taken so many deep breaths. I will be the better for it!

So there you have it: two very straightforward approaches to having a simple day.  Each costs no money and takes very little time. Lots of smiles and lots of deep breaths. 

Well, have a nice week: smile often and take many, many, many deep breaths.

Robert A. Hatcher MD, MPH
Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Emory University School of Medicine
Atlanta, Georgia