Ok, for sure not as fun as Salt-N-Pepa talking about sex but I promise it’s worth the read.
You’ve probably heard, read or seen something about the importance of your breath when it comes to your wellbeing. Sometimes calling mindful breath, breathwork, or pranayama if you’re a yogi, the idea is to breathe on purpose & allow breath to cleanse, center and calm you.
You do want to feel more calm and centered, don’t you? Thought so.
I love to breathe. All kinds of breath. Meditative, belly, nostril, yogi, intense cardio-induced, and even sighing. It’s all yum to me. Breathing with intention makes me feel alive, awake, grounded, compassionate, and clear-headed.
And…it’s the first thing that goes when I’m stressed, anxious, hurting, or in an emotional whirlwind. When I’m in my head, trying to solve the world’s and my problems, I forget about my breath. I don’t forget to breathe, of course, but I forget that my breath is there to help me.
As a young therapist in Los Angeles, I worked at a substance abuse treatment facility. Clients were super anxious because they were facing their thoughts, feelings and body sensations without drugs and alcohol for the first time. Many would ask for Ativan (a habit-forming benzo that reduces anxiety), and our response was always “breathing is your natural Ativan.” You can imagine how well that was received!
It’s true, though. Are you up for an experiment?
Pause what you’re doing for a moment and bring your attention to your breath. No need to change anything about it, just notice it. Notice the breath in. Then the breath out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Six times in and six times out.
When you’re finished, just be still for a moment. What do you notice?
If you’re like most, you might be feeling a bit more centered. Less all-over-the-place. Less in your head. Calmer. And that took less than a minute!
If there’s one self-care, personal and professional growth tool to master, it’s your breath. It’s not complicated, there’s no big strategy, no years in therapy, “no childhood shit” as Brenè Brown said, and no action plan. It’s just you and your breath. Your natural Ativan.
The more you breathe on purpose, the more centered, calm and even alert you’ll be. And when you’re centered, calm, and alert, guess what? You make better choices. Positive ones. You react less and respond more. And life feels better. Works feels better. Love feels better.
So give it a shot today. Set a reminder on your phone or put a Post-It on your desk or write it in your hand. Pause, breathe in and out six times, sit for a moment, and notice. That’s it.
I’ll do it with you. Here’s to more calm. More center. More breathing.