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December 20, 2020

How understanding that taking deep breaths can lead to peace and happiness

“Breath, just breath!”

My former sales manager used to say that to me when I would get upset about a client situation.

I thought it was so condescending.  I would tune her out and go about with my angry venting internally.  I was driving myself mad for hours on end.  Often it filtered into the next day.

My sales manager didn’t mean to be condescending, and I actually liked her.  In hindsight, I wished she would have explained more about the benefits of breathing, or I would have been wise enough to ask.  I would have been happier as I would have been able to let go of situations faster.

Why do people overcomplicate simple things?  I know there are many authors and doctors who have deeply studied breathing.  When I read those articles, I seem to glaze over them.

In my opinion, the most significant part of any self-help or personal development is the recognition and then the daily practice so it becomes a habit which can then be life-changing.

I recall when I first tried meditation– it was June 2018.  People can overcomplicate that as well, which then can scare people from trying.  Overcomplicating becomes intimidating, while meditation is one of the oldest practices out there.  If I had a nickel for every time someone told me that they thought meditation was difficult or they didn’t have time, I would be rich.

On another breathing note, I have found it incredible to start to recognize the scents of nature.  On my morning walks, I can smell the jasmine when they are in bloom and frangipani.  If I didn’t have the practice of breathing in my habits, I would miss out on that natural goodness.

So, to them, I would say, let’s start first by remembering to breathe.

  • Remember to take a deep breath when someone or something is upsetting you.
  • Remember to take a deep breath before saying something that you may regret.
  • Remember to take a deep breath when you feel some anxiety or worry.
  • Remember to take some deep breaths while on a walk and appreciate nature’s scents.

Breathing is the initial step of meditation, and it can be done in a moment vs. meditation, which may require a quiet place, being comfortable, a little bit of time, and select audio.  I love to meditate and meditate daily but it’s OK to start at step one.

If you want to get to step two, try about adding a simple mantra such as:

  I am at peace

When I started making breathing a part of my daily habit anytime I was feeling stressed or overwhelmed; I realized that taking deep breaths can:

  • Change your energy and relax your system
  • Create a pause so you can think more clearly
  • Help you focus and stop overwhelm
  • Can help prevent you from saying something you may regret

There are various exercises too that can help, such as box breathing.  This practice is part of the Navy Seals regimen.

To practice box breathing, you follow a specific, controlled pattern. First, breathe in for 4 seconds. Then, hold your breath for 4 seconds. Next, breathe out for 4 seconds. Finally, hold for 4 seconds. And repeat.

To me, that’s an easy one to remember and very effective.

Also, there are articles about proper techniques on filling your belly with air vs. sucking it in.

But in the spirit of keeping it simple, just remembering to take three deep breaths can make a difference. 

Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. – Oprah Winfrey

Image from- Science Of Connectedness