Sunday, January 30, 2022



There is a way to help gather yourself in order to become more centered. I like to think of the quote by Thich Nhat Hanh, "Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is a wonderful moment."

Everything that I have been reading lately on living healthier has some advice about breathing correctly. It is a way to center ourselves. We already breathe in and out about 20,000 times a day. So why not do it the proper way. It seems that getting more oxygen to our bodies can help in the healing from chronic pain, atrial fibrillation, asthma, digestive issues, depression and a wide range of stress-related illnesses. 

Newborns come into this world breathing deeply, but it seems as we age, stress alters that pattern and we start breathing more shallow breaths. This sends a message to our bodies that we are in a fight or flight mode. This in turn sends out stress hormones. 

There are some breathing exercises to help reverse these bad habits. 

  • Diaphragmatic Breathing which involves expanding your belly which in turn gives our lungs room to take in more oxygen. 
  • Alternate Nostril Breathing can easily be done when you use your right thumb to close your right nostril, then inhale through your left nostril. Then switch and close off your left nostril with your pinky and ring finger and exhale through your right nostril. Do a few rounds of this kind of breathing and blood pressure should go down and over time may have anti-obesity effects as well as boosting cognitive function.
  • Bellows Breath is a breathing exercise aimed at increasing alertness. With your mouth closed, inhale and exhale quickly and evenly through your nose. Aim for three in and out cycles per second. When your energy is feeling low try this method for a minute as a pick me up.
Using these breathing techniques can help us all reduce stress. It can actually give us the momentum to take that leap of faith and to realize that we really can't fail because each moment we get to start anew. Everything works out the way it is meant to be. It is not a matter of failing but more of a way of learning. Something even better than we imagined can be out there waiting for us. I am learning that we must take that leap of faith.

Where I see the problem at times is knowing when it is a leap of faith and when is it a foolish decision. In research studies, some psychologists classify every emotion as either love or fear. They say it is not unusual for humans to base almost every decision on fear. It can be fear of rejection, fear of poverty, fear of looking dumb, etc. Fear based decisions lead to hollow victories and usually regret. Only love based decisions create lasting happiness. Telling the difference between the two is not always easy. Leaps of faith are scary, even when based on love. It takes practice to live in that moment by getting into the habit of imagining no fear. You can do that by living your life as if you already have what you are aiming for. 

In your mind it is a way to get the ball rolling. A way to get off the ground is to start with an action date that will move you forward and keep you in motion until you reach that goal.

Sometimes you just must allow yourself to breathe into the wonder and beauty and craziness of everything that represents your life. Then live it fearlessly. If you keep breathing, then you cannot be conquered. Every day and every breath is magic if only we would open our eyes to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.                                                                     

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