When someone tells you “don’t forget to breathe” just what on earth do they mean?
Of course breathing is an essential thing we all do and is not even second nature, it is something we do without even thinking about it.
So why would someone tell you not to forget to breathe?
Well this is not about everyday breathing that we need to survive but the idea to stop and take a moment. Stop worrying about everything else that is going on around you and take those minutes and focus on yourself.
If you find yourself wondering what on earth have I done today? How do I feel like I have nothing accomplished at all and so much left on my to do list. You will realise that you have been putting your body in a state of stress the whole day, without any breaks.
Forgetting to breathe properly
This is so easy to do, especially nowadays. The news of what is going on in the world and even in your own area is enough to overwhelm the strongest person out there.
What can you do to help yourself and your family? How can you do something or even anything? Or what should I be doing?
This only adds more stress on your body and with the number of people on various medications from blood pressure tablets to anti depressants and everything in between it is no surprise that things seem so overwhelming. Anxiety levels are rising.
Think about breathing properly
The human body is a very elaborate, complicated and highly organised structure which is made up of different cells that work together to accomplish the functions necessary for sustaining life.
One could go into a deep dive and explanation of what the human body does, why and how.
All of these are codependent and rely on each other to successfully operate.
I am only here to talk specifically about the function of breathing. Which we can all agree is a vital one. If you want to delve deeper there are many places to find more details from websites to reference books. (Yes, books.)
There are so many things that are outside of our control and we unfortunately have to accept them. Life has a way of making itself all consuming and overwhelming.
There is one simple thing that we all have time for and it doesn’t cost a cent. In fact it can be done almost anywhere and no equipment is needed. It may subsequently transform your life in an amazing way. Health benefits in an easy to achieve do it yourself manner? Yes please!
Take a moment and think about your breathing.
By stopping what you are doing. Depending on where you are. If you are driving it is safest to be stationary at eg a car park. If you have your children around, make sure they are safe and not in a space that they could come to harm if they are small.
Once you are in that safe space. Sit comfortably and place one hand on your belly to be able to feel it slowly rise with you as you breath slowly through your nose.
Holding it and then breathing slowly out through your mouth has an amazing effect in itself.
Is it just the fact that you have stopped and taken a moment to focus on your body. Forget about all that is going on around you right now. Nothing can be done in the few minutes you are taking the break, Let your body heal itself. Allow your body to calm down and step away from the stress for the time you are breathing.
Once you have done it once, do it again. It may feel weird at first and you are not sure you are doing it right or think I don’t feel any different. It is not a magic cure of once and all.
Your body has to learn that it is not a once off exercise, to be experienced once and then it is straight into fight mode again.
Your body may feel like it is going so fast it takes a while to slow down to a cruising speed.
As it becomes more routine to you why not include your children and sit with them, teaching them how to calm themselves down and de stress their bodies. Yes children can be stressed too.
How about a breathing journal
It may feel at first as if it is insurmountable and you have no idea where to start. Well how about taking some baby steps towards a calmer body.
- Take a moment. This can be just 5 minutes every few hours or even once or twice a day to stop. Take a deep breath in and take in what is going on around you right now.
- Set an alarm in the first few days to remind you to do this.
- Have a notebook or journal with you and write down what you see, feel and think right now.
- Don’t overthink it and just write down what you can do about what you are noticing right now.
- Keep your journal and read over your notes either in the evening or every few days.
The 4 7 8 breathing technique
If you haven’t heard of this one it can be very helpful, granted that it may feel confusing at first, don’t give up, it does get easier. This is often recommended to manage anxiety and stress. This method is based on a breathing exercise practiced during yoga. For this reason this is best done in a comfortable spot where you can sit quietly and not be disturbed.
- Inhale slowly through your nose for the count of four.
- Hold your breath for the count of seven.
- Exhale through your mouth for the count of eight. Make a “whooshing” sound as you breathe out.
- Complete this exercise four times.
No one is perfect, we are all human. The important thing is to remember to exhale longer than you inhale.
As you practice this it gets easier to do without overthinking it. This is when you will notice the results. Some suggest twice a day to get into the routine but of course if it helps you feel better why not practice it more often during the day.
Don’t forget to breathe
It is understood that taking a slow, deep breath can help you relieve stress and calm your nerves. This can also improve your overall health and well-being. Practicing yoga is a wonderful way of relaxing the body and it may not be suitable for everyone or possible.
What better way of taking a moment in your day to breathe in the stress and breathe it out again. Letting it go. A chance to focus on you and all that you can do. Don’t worry about the things you can’t do and stop letting them block you from being proactive in your life. In other words your focus is on the things you can do.
By trying out some simple breathing exercises you may notice your body changing.
- Is your mind clearer and do you feel better able to manage your time and your energy?
- Are you able to see things clearer and not react negatively to everything?
- Has your heart stopped racing and you have been able to slow things down?
- Have you noticed more of the positive things that are happening all around you?
- Had more time to enjoy some hobbies or feel more productive?
- Started a healthier relationship with food. Stopped eating so much junk food or too many cups of coffee.
- Learning to live in the moment and enjoy the people in your life?
If you have noticed even one of these it is a huge win. If you have experienced more or even others then that is remarkable.
It is important to state that I am not a medical professional. I am only writing down some ideas that are free and easy to follow and if they help anyone out in these confusing times that is what it is all about. I can only speak for myself that I have noticed some wonderful positive benefits and wish you the best of luck on your journey of discovery.