The truth is, we live in a fast-paced world of innovation and change, that it is so easy to lose sight of the important things in life. That is why today, I want to share a powerful tool with you that has helped me a lot during my healing journey and which still gets me through the tougher days. The most amazing thing about it: It is simple, free and available at any time anywhere you go. All you need is yourself. That’s it!
Whether you suffer with depression, anxiety, a mental disorder, an angry co-worker, family member or other challenges in your life, trust me, this tool is so powerful that it has the potential to change your entire life – for the better!
This is a tool you have carried with you since you came into this world. It is a tool you were already born with and that you will carry along until you leave your body again. If you use it wisely, you can learn how to bring more happiness and less worries into your daily life. So read on to learn more.
The magical tool no one tells you about
Don’t get too swayed by what you see out there on social media every day. All those pretty faces advertising material goods that are supposed to make you feel better might bring you short-term happiness. But the satisfaction will not last. Believe me. I have fallen for it as well.
I found long-term happiness when I learned to use the magical tool, which is my own BREATH. But, don’t think that’s the only secret I want to tell you about today. So don’t stop reading here.
Actually, learning to breathe properly was one of the biggest factors in my recovery.
Trust me when I tell you that you do not need a fancy product, a trip to the spa, proof of a friend, or an elegant facial to take good care, treat yourself, and do it right. In fact, I wonder how much “treat” one gets out of those things while having to record it for an (unknown) audience on social media at the same time. Can you relate?
I mean this with great respect.
I too use social media as a tool to share my knowledge and experiences alongside recipe inspirations and recommendations supporting small businesses with big ideas and trying to make a REAL IMPACT in this world (yes, I have a secret mission to accomplish..To be continued). But I would never swap it for the one tool that I can always control – no matter what others do or say.
The breath is the link between mind and body
What I have learned is that the real treat is turning off from always being “on”. The real reward is snuggling up with some actual you time. Just enjoying your own company – no matter where you are! Tuning back into yourself. Connecting both body and mind so they can work in tandem and not seperated from each other.
This is why I love yoga and meditation so much. It’s a very loving approach that allows you to stop, drop all your struggles and take good care of yourself.
The power of the breath
One single conscious breath constitutes one generous act of self care.
Let’s be honest: Throughout the day, how often do you use your breath?
How often do you think about your breath? Or even think about it as a tool to help you as a coping mechanism?
The term ‘take a breath’ is often thrown around in casual conversation, but how often do we actually practice what we preach?
The truth is that our breath is probably the most under-utilized and under-recognized tool that we have with us 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week. Even though it is free, and can never run out, never leave us – unless we die. But the biggest challenge with using our breath? Simply remembering that it is there all the time, waiting for us to use it. This may be obvious for you as you are reading this. However, consider this: we breathe from the moment we enter this world and right until the moment we leave it.
Control your breath, control your mind, control your body
Until I started practicing yoga, I was never taught about the breath. Not at school, not from my parents or anyone else. I suppose you have had the same experiences. Generally speaking, the only people (except from yogis) who ever learn about the importance of using their breath are pregnant women. Isn’t that hilarious?
It seems like modern medicine has acknowledged that breathing techniques are powerful tools to manage fear, increase mental focus and decrease physical pain. But apparently only for women giving birth. What about us? What about everyone else who is ever in pain?
We see that mindful breathing has been shown to provide us with so many health and well-being benefits, such as improving our mood, decreasing anxiety and feelings of panic. Consciously breathing gives us better control over ourselves, sharpening mental focus and attention, improves physical performance, and most importantly, helps us to be in the here and now. The breath is a powerful tool that can be used in almost any situation when we learn how to use it!
Bridging the gap between body and mind
“The mind is the king of the sences but the breath is the king of the mind.”– Hatha Yoga Pradipika
I remember when I started conscious breathing technique for the first time, I felt a little silly ‘just breathing’. But then I noticed a number of positive changes. Whenever I felt my shoulders stiffening, I continued with a big deep breath. (Did you just do it with me?)
I know from my own experience that it is very difficult to focus solely on the breath. For most of us our breath is such a natural thing that we don’t spend much attention on it during our daily lifes. But once you take a moment to get hold of it, you can change not only the way you think (mind) but also the way you feel and even look like! The breath is so powerful that you can actually change your physiology when you consciously use it as a healing tool – like I did!
In fact, the breath was such an important tool during my recovery. Often times, when I felt stuck at a point, the breath was my most honest teacher. It was always able to tell me the truth about my current situation and well-being.
Let’s take a little exercice at this point:
Before you start, take a quick personal check in: How’s your current breathing? Are your shoulders hunched in? Are you taking short, shallow breaths that only expand into your chest? Or are your shoulders back with your posture upright, your chest lifted taking nourishing breaths right down into your belly?
In any case, try to consciously inhale to a slow count of 4 seconds, and challenge yourself to exhale to a slower count of anywhere from 4-6 seconds. It might also be helpful to adopt a personal mantra to keep your mind’s focus while practicing mindful breathing – on an inhale: “I inhale lots of LOVE”, and on an exhale “I exhale lots of LOVE”, or anything of your own preference. It may feel a bit funny at first, but it will get easier over time and you will notice it will be helpful throughout your day-to-day life. The important thing is that you keep on practicing.
The breath is not like a chemical pill that will immediately get rid of your sudden headache. But it will be a much healthier and sustainable drug – without the common side effects. A pill will never heal the cause, it only suppresses the symptoms.
What if I tell you that you breathe 22,000 times every day. How many are you really aware of it?
Whenever you feel like your life is worthless and without meaning, take a deep breath. It is just a bad day, NOT A BAD LIFE.
Known side effects of deep, coscious breathing: You will start to smile more. You will worry less. Life won’t bother you so much. 🙂
I will leave you with one of my favourite poems. Even though, it is not about the breath itself, it provides an excellent description of why being more mindful of our breath is so important.
Can you see your light inside you?
It shines both day and night
Leading you both near and far
Keeping your path in sight
Can you feel your light inside you?
As it courses through your veins
Inspired greatness housed within
To share for all to gain
Can you taste your light inside you?
Flavored sweet and pure
Water, land and truthful food
Grant energy and cures
Can you hear your light inside you?
As it speaks to you in song
Guiding you to flow each day
Helping you stay strong
Can you touch your light inside you?
Compassion, joy and heat
A tender kiss, a warm embrace
Rituals to be complete
Can you sense your light inside you?
It’s spoken from within
Hunches, feelings, heart felt signs
Giving life a whole new spin
Will you trust your light inside you?
Your gifts, your being, your core
True greatness lay in wait
To be shared, enjoyed, explored
Copyright G. Brian Benson 2011
As always, thank you for reading.
Love, Light and Namasté.