Spouses and children are the love of our lives—and the bane of our existence! Day-to-day interactions can bring warmth and laughter, but also stress and aggra­vation. If we’re not careful, the stressful part, like a dark cloud, can block out all the sunny, loving fee­lings. When we trip over that shoe for the hundredth time, we can forget that its owner is one of the most impor­tant and cherished people in our lives.

Because we live with family members, there are innumerable opportunities for experiencing frustration, hurt and upset. They don’t do what we want them to do. They don’t listen. They don’t understand. Sometimes it even They don’t listen. They don’t understandfeels like they don’t care. If, on top of all this, we neglect ourselves—failing to support ourselves emotionally and physically—we can get easily run down and discouraged. Life can seem like one large battle.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent wear and tear on our souls. In fact, it is a Torah obligation for us to learn them, because we are deemed responsible for maintaining the health of the vehicle that carries our spirit.1 Self-care requires many things: making time for our interests and passions; having fun; making sure to get sufficient sleep, exercise and healthy food; building a circle of support; and more. Of course, all this isn’t easy, especially for overburdened parents. So, it becomes even more important to learn the fastest, most productive and easiest ways to refresh our souls.

One such way is called the one-moment breath. Like the one-minute breath, only shorter, this is a brief pause that removes us from worldly concerns. It pushes the “stop” button on the valve that releases stress chemistry into the body. It acts as a transition from a bad-feeling place to a good-feeling place, with a stopover in momentary bliss. Here’s how it works:

When you notice that you’re feeling any unpleasant emotion (worry, irritation, upset, etc.), close your eyes and allow your mind to rest on one cycle of your breath, one pleasantly slow inhale and exhale. Then open your eyes. That’s it.

Now, you might be wondering what such a simple exercise could accomplish. The best way to find out is to do it yourself a few times throughout your day. At first, your stressed-out body might not quite know what to do with the pause, but after a few times it will quickly catch on. In fact, After a few times, it will quickly catch onthe more frequently and consistently you use this breath in stressful moments, the more pro­found and effective it becomes. After all, our bodies don’t really enjoy the stress chemistry we pour through them and, given the option, will always choose the kind of good-feeling chemistry that accompanies the one-moment breath.

Once the breath has improved your chemical soup, you will find that you will be more successful at solving your current problem, you will feel more compassio­nate and forgiving, and you will have easier access to the big picture and the big solutions. Your mental and physical functioning and wellbeing will improve. You will have more energy for the business of living, and more ability to develop healthier relationships with the ones you love.

Even if they still leave their shoes in the middle of the floor.