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Taking A Mindful Breath

Dr Retha Jansen van Rensburg. September 2019

· Mind,Life Skills

All of us exist in a world of do-ing, not a world of be-ing. Being present may not seem to be all that important to you.

And then there are all the benefits of staying out of the present moment. I have to admit that it is nice to be complimented for being a productive multitasker. Planning and imagining scenarios for next weekend feels like a good use of time. Of course reviewing your planner is important. All of your many to-do lists do serve a purpose and keep you on track. There is a place for planning, but it appears to have hijacked our lives, and you may find it hard to function in any other way.

Therefore, you can devote more time to the past and the future than the present.

AWARENESS + ACCEPTANCE = MINDFULNESS

I remember as a child being told by grownups to calm down, to not get angry, and even to not cry. I want to remind you that mindfulness does not divide your emotions into good ones and bad ones; there is simply this moment. When being mindful, you are teaching yourself to be aware of this moment without trying to change this moment. (It’s worth repeating that: Mindfulness is being aware of this moment without trying to change this moment.) It does not mean that if something in your life needs to change to be healthier or happier that you should not address it. But you can only change if you can see the problem clearly and it is only in the present moment that you can make changes. The ability to live mindfully means that you are developing ways to feel and be, without being judgmental and just reacting to the situation. And as you unlock your awareness to what is imbalanced in your life and start to identify typical tendencies that you are unaware of, you can start to build new habits that support well-being and balance.

One can easily mistake being present with being stress-free and more relaxed. And yes, being in the moment makes you feel more calm and relaxed. Being calm and relaxed can be an element of being mindful. But mindfulness is not practicing being calm and without emotion. It is being aware of what is and being honest about it.

This means that not a single thing about this moment has to change. In this moment, the time it takes for you to take a full breath in and let it out, in this moment you are okay exactly as you are.

Come on, try it.

Just one single breath. Right now.

Breathe completely out…out…out…out….

Pay attention to the next breath you take as it goes in and out through your nose. Notice everything you can as you breathe in. Focus on the point where air enters your body. Is the air cool? Is it warm? Breathe in fully.

Exhale completely. Do you notice movement in your chest and ribs? Does your abdomen rise and fall?

Now for the next two breaths, breathe slowly and feel your complete inhale—let the breath fill your stomach all the way to the very top of your torso, and then feel your complete exhale.

Breathe in . . . Breathe out . . . 1

Breathe in . . . Breathe out . . . 2

Focus on your next breath as enters through your nose. Observe what is happening. Notice whether the air is cool or warm. Can you feel the air move into your chest? Exhale slowly.

Now just breathe normally. Notice how you feel.

This moment is okay exactly as it is.

Any time you pay attention to your breath, it shifts your focus to the present. So, being present is not loud or melodramatic, but it does have a far-reaching effect on your life. In addition to relaxation and mental clarity, focusing on your breath brings you automatically into the moment because the only breath you are ever taking is this one right now.

You will inhale and exhale around 20,000 times today. As you are always breathing it is easy to take it for granted. As long as you’re not out of breath from a run or choking on something, you most likely don’t give your breathing any thought. Clearly breathing keeps you alive. But it can also help you to feel calmer and more relaxed in any situation. It is truly the fastest way to feel relief. Breathing influences the way you feel. Most of us have been told by someone to “take a deep breath” when we were upset. It’s widely known that focusing on your breath helps you to calm down and communicate more clearly. The breath is always there as an anchor to this moment. When you slow down and deepen your breath, you immediately increase the health of your entire respiratory system. It is really that simple: Those deep slow breaths allow for a complete oxygen exchange in the body. Breathing is the quickest existing route to move from anxious to calm. By altering how you are breathing, you shift from a reactive state to a receptive state. Slower, deeper breathing equals a calm perspective.

This connection between our breathing and our state of mind actually works both ways. If your breathing is erratic or shallow, it can make you feel nervous and ill at ease. A lot of people, even when they are not feeling stressed, unconsciously breathe shallowly: Their breathing only uses the top of the lungs and limits the diaphragm’s range of motion. Breathing mainly in the upper chest can become a habit that harms your health, fitness and ability to hack into your optimal performance and state of mind.

The practice of mindful breathing is a habit you develop slowly and embrace as part of the way you want to live. To center myself it became a habit to take a deep breath every time I walk through a door. I encourage you to find some way to take a few deep breaths today, even for a few short minutes. You would be amazed how it lightens the way you feel. For every minute you practice mindfulness in your day, you generate a reservoir of inner peace that can assist you through the times of “unconscious” living.

From Zenzile life I wish you a healthy mindful week. Just BREATHE…

 

This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy.This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.

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blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.