Breathe they say. Just breathe, it’ll help, it’ll make you feel better. Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
I can’t be the only one whose mom used this exact phrase when I was upset as a child. Somewhere along the way I lost the list of the numerous applications but it’s never too late to re-implement it, so I am doing just that and you can too.
When was the last time you just closed your eyes and took a deep breath? Well there’s no right or wrong answer to this one. But down the line, try and think to take these deep breaths when you feel yourself bubbling over, when you’re sad, when you feel lost or anxious. Reconnect with the moment you’re in and give it a chance to be something great. Just take a moment to breathe.
I’d say ignore anyone telling you the ‘proper’ way to breathe, but sometimes pointers are exactly what we need. These are some notes I took to heart when reading up on how exactly to make this breathing deeply thing work better for me.
1. Breathe with your stomach
Not anatomically plausible, but does it ever work. Visualize your breath travelling deep in your core as you breathe. This method pulls the breath deeper allowing your lungs to open fully and for you to take in more oxygen.
2. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth
This one’s more about controlling the flow of your breath. I’m a mouth breather so this took some time to master. In the end though, it helps to keep you present. It allows your focus to be drawn away from whatever it is that’s troubling you.
3. Count your breaths
Not how it sounds, exactly. On the inhale count up to 4, then hold for 5-7 seconds, and on the exhale count up to 8 then repeat. This measurement can help you get a true deep breath that does what it needs to. Similarly to the second note, this one helps to keep your attention on the moment and on the action of your body.
So, breathe. Forget about Karen who just yelled at you in front of your line of customers. Forget about Gregg who lets his dog roam free in your yard. Forget about that coworker whose work you always need to correct. And most importantly, take a moment for you.
Okay maybe ‘forget’ wasn’t quite the right word. When I say ‘forget about Karen’ what I mean is ‘forgive Karen’. In the moment when you’re breathing, acknowledge that this mistreatment is a thing of the past and should be treated as such. Do we really want Karen ruining our day? The answer is a resounding no.
You deserve the moment so grab it and enjoy it as is. Whether that’s in yoga pants on a mat, in your office chair between emails or in the back seat on that long car ride with your in-laws, you deserve the moment to breathe. Find your happy place, anywhere.
Written by Emily Van Dyk
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