The simplest and most important thing we do as long as we live is to breathe and yet we may take it for granted because it is part of our autonomic (unconscious) nervous system.
Throughout our lives we are faced with situations that make us tremendously excited and terribly upset with every range of emotion in between. Often these situations don’t ever actually happen, we just imagine them. Real or imagined positive or negative stress can leave us breathless.
Notice how your breath becomes short, shallow and fast when either type of stress affects you. More importantly, notice how you feel mentally and emotionally when you are under stress. This is a normal reaction to external situations or internal thoughts and can be thought of as the act of breathing.
Here’s the cool thing, we can consciously choose to change our reactions to responses! We do this by breathing longer, deeper and slower. Notice the effect of breathing this way especially on how you feel mentally and emotionally.
Start to notice your breathing in situations where you are tremendously calm and the overall sense of well being that you have. See if you feel more inspired and resourceful.
Try this simple little exercise:
Sit comfortably and start to pay attention to your breathing. Breathe deeper by taking three little inhales and one long exhale. Now put your hand on your belly and take three little inhales into belly followed by a long exhale. Do this three times. Then put your hand on your side ribs and breathe three short inhales into your side ribs and one long exhale. Next put a hand on your sternum (breast bone) and take three short inhales and one long exhale. This is where it gets tricky, start the first third inhale in your belly, the second third inhale in your side ribs and the last third inhale into your chest followed by a long exhale. Do this until it is smooth and not so mechanical.
You can time it so that the your inhale is three seconds and your exhale is 2-3 seconds. When you get good you will be able count 10-12 breaths for a minute and create the most resourceful state of mind and ease in your body.
It takes awareness, practice and response-ability which we all have!