What if you could discover your state of you mind without over-thinking it?
How, you may ask? Tune in to the quality of your breath. Is it short and shallow? Audible? Do you heavy sigh throughout the day? Is your breath ragged and tight? Or, slow and steady?
I’m guessing you can surmise what to aim for (slow and steady).
It’s that time of year again: Thanks-giving. This year, more than any other, we can be grateful for the air we breathe. For the ability to breathe. Never do you take for granted something more until you lose it.
Ever injure your pinky finger, only to realize how much you actually use that little pinky?
Imagine losing your ability to breath. Obviously you’d die…but even if your ability to breathe diminishes, that makes it hard to move through your day – to fully live. And yet, we do this to ourselves.
As we move into this 2021 holiday of Gratitude, and the holiday season in general, let’s influence our breathing and nervous systems for good!
Try one of these practices:
- Nasal Breathing. Aim to breathe in and out through the nose. Not only does nasal breathing naturally filter the air, it warms it up, naturally engages the diaphragm, slows down your rate of breathing and more. Throughout the day, check yourself. Is your mouth hanging open? If so, close it. Remember: noses are for breathing, mouths are for eating.
- Fully Exhale. Do that now. Exhale all of the air that you can, and allow the inhale to happen naturally. You have more control over the exhale, than the in. If you find yourself getting stressed, starting to breath rapidly, or over breathe, take a moment to fully exhale, gain control of your breath, and buy yourself time (repeat as necessary).
- Slow Down. Slow and low that is the tempo. (hat tip to the Beastie Boys: https://youtu.be/mFESmuzaAek ). In our culture, we have a tendency to breathe primarily in the chest (think short, shallow breaths). Breathing through the nose can deepen the breath into the belly, engaging the diaphragm. Slowing down your breath rate can help even more. Practice box breathing for balance (https://youtu.be/n6RbW2LtdFs).
Not only can breathing alleviate negative feelings and help with stress, breath practices can also nurture positive emotions and our sense of connection to the world around us. Try one of these practices this holiday season, and see how it affects your state of mind. Breathe, with gratitude.
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