Ahhhh breathing. Something we don’t really put much thought into, yet without it we wouldn’t survive more than several minutes. The simple act of breathing can be so powerful when used in an intended way. Want to surrender? Breathe. Forgive? Breathe. Control a panic attack? Breathe. Ground yourself or get into the moment? Breathe.
Breathing is something that we all do, all of the time & yet we are often not aware of how it feels in the moment. By bringing our focus intentionally onto breathing we can ground ourselves in what is happening right now. We can practice observing without reacting, experiencing each breath as it happens without feeling a need to change it.
Dealing with too many mental tasks, especially when loaded with emotion, decreases the brain’s processing speed & triggers frustration. When you pause, you purposefully concentrate on a brief single task to clear your mind. This very brief pause helps the “thinking” part of your brain catch up with the “emotional” part, priming you to refocus more clearly & make better decisions.
Pausing to take a “mindful” breath works best if you practice & develop skill applying the technique even in the most stressful conditions. So, good times to practice pausing:
• Before answering the phone.
• While waiting for your computer to boot.
• Walking to the bathroom/to get coffee.
• Beginning & end of meetings.
• Before responding to challenging emails, verbal statements, etc.
• Before drinking or eating.
• When you wake up in the morning/before going to sleep at night.
The purpose of the exercise below is to simply notice, accept & be aware of your breath. It’s not about relaxation or stress reduction, although this is a common side effect! So start the week off well with this simple mindful breathing exercise that will help you develop a sense of calm & focus.
Love & light,