Breathing is movement within our lungs. Breathing is flowing, life-sustaining, and fuel to the rhythm of our hearts. Yet, we often overlook it in our daily lives. True, breathing is not optional. Obviously, it’s an involuntary action that our bodies regulate themselves, so why on earth should we have to pay attention to it at all?
Let me answer that with a request: right now, put your hands on your lap, sit back, close your eyes, and breathe deeply and slowly, in and out. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Back? Okay, now how did that feel? For most people, breathing in a controlled, calm manner does wonders for their mood, stress levels, and outlook. When we get caught up in hectic situations or destructive moods, we often cause blockage in the natural flow of our breath.
Instead of just thinking about the intake and output of air into our bodies, try thinking of breathing as a constant flow into and out of us, taking out impurities and bringing in new life. The simple act of pausing for a moment, sitting back, and just breathing can slow everything down for you, even if just for a moment. Breathing out can give you a chance to let go of stress or aggravations. Breathing in can help introduce you to a new perspective. Just getting a better flow of oxygen into your brain will help you feel entirely better, almost instantly.
For me, forgetting to breathe can mean feeling lightheaded and potentially passing out (I have syncope, a fancy medical term for fainting spells), so I try to personally remember to watch my habits and patterns. However, I’ve also recently noticed how much remembering to breathe can prevent me from letting my moods get out of hand or allowing my anxiety to overtake my focus. Breathing gives me a new perspective, and quiets the buzzing in my mind. Whenever I find myself in a situation where I am getting worked up, I try to close my eyes and imagine breathing in as pulling in new patience, focus, or any other quality I feel I’m lacking at the moment, and breathing out as carrying out all the old feelings and thoughts that I feel are causing me unhappiness and stress.
Smile, breathe and go slowly. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Breathing truly is the greatest pleasure in life, so savor each moment, and cherish each breath. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or upset, acknowledge that feeling, pause, breathe, and start fresh. You always deserve a second chance.