You Need to Breathe
There is immense power in how you breathe.
Don’t believe me? Stop reading and pause for five minutes. Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose. Out through your mouth. Focus only on your breathing. For real, give it a try.
My friend Trisha Smith swears by the power of breathing and goes so far as to say that it has the power to positively impact every area of our lives.
Sound too good to be true?
I’ve seen the power of this principle firsthand.
A few years ago, my wife was driving on a major highway in Atlanta and had to pull over because her arms and legs had suddenly gone numb. When I took her to the doctor, everything seemed to be fine with her heart, and there didn’t seem to be anything else out of the ordinary, but something still didn’t feel right.
The doctor’s simple diagnosis was to ask, “When is the last time you took a deep breath?”
As a mother of three, my wife hadn’t had time to stop and just breathe in a long time and it was beginning to take a toll on her. The doctor was wise enough to understand that it wasn’t medication she needed, it was simply giving herself the ability to be still that could fix her problem.
The Benefits of Breathing
For something that comes naturally to us as humans, we are far too unaware of just how good breathing can be for our overall health. Now, before I go any further, this isn’t to say that breathing has the power to help with all of our stress or to diminish the severity of mental health issues. There are many things that require help beyond what we have the capacity to achieve ourselves.
But hopefully these simple truths about breathing can give us some things to consider and even practical ways to implement a daily routine of a healthy mindset and posture.
Breath equals energy. According to Trisha Smith, breathing determines how much energy you have or don’t have throughout your day. Taking time to sit in stillness can rejuvenate your body and mind far more than you would think possible.
Breathing brings us to the present moment. With lives that tend to pull us in many different directions at the same time, breathing is the one thing that allows us to focus back in and center our minds. It helps us to understand the state we’re in and to fully take in what is happening around us.
Taking deep breaths allows our mental state to recover. Just as the recovery period following time in the gym allows our muscles to heal and grow, our minds work in the same way. We need breaks from the nonstop pace that many of us keep up in our lives. Similar to my wife needing a few seconds to breathe, we need to know our limits and understand when it’s time to take a break and sit in stillness.
Now that you know the importance of a simple deep breath, set aside some time in your day to sit down and breathe.
Changing the rapid pace of life might not be an option for a lot of us, but I’m willing to bet that we can find a few minutes to sit in stillness and center ourselves. This can be done right when we wake up, or before we go to bed, or somewhere in between, but it’s important to take these moments regularly. Trisha refers to them as “breath check-ins”.
Whatever it looks like for you, whether it’s meditation, or prayer, or simply sitting in silence, give yourself that space to relax and be conscious of your breathing. I promise it will pay off.
For more on this topic check out the Created For Experience podcast – Mindset and Commitment with Trish Smith.