Breathing Into Stressful Times

In times of stress I have found it is important to remember to breathe.  I am unsure why we humans tend to breath so shallow when things get stressed.  It seems as though we are trying to cut off what we feel out of fear of the unknown within us.  Fear is a powerful force and we tend to want to shove it down inside.  

Let’s talk about why breathing is so important in stressful times and explore a method or two to focus our breath.  Our mind and our body works best with a good supply of oxygen that seems obvious.  A good deep relaxed breath settles us down not only because of oxygen but also because we are taking control of the breath and our response to what is going on.  A deep breath in the midst of the chaos says to self at a number of levels, don’t worry we are taking back control of the situation.  We have within us the ability to take control of what is going on inside if we decide to do so.  It would be a mistake for us to sell ourselves short on what we are capable of doing.  The breath is a doorway into realizing our inner abilities.

When we decide to slow down the simplest and most direct approach is to begin to breathe consciously.  Breathing with awareness automatically starts to slow us down.  Just putting our attention on the breath brings us fully into the moment where we have direct access to our inner resources.  As we focus on the breath it naturally expands or deepens and this has a calming affect.  The longer we watch our breath the more the claming expands within us.

In addition to watching the breath, we can also deepen it by bringing our attention to the exhale part of the cycle.  The goal is to exhale slowly and completely.  As we exhale in this way we can feel the breath release the built up stuff caused by the tension in us.  The inhale cycle of the breath after a long and relaxed exhale will naturally be big and deep.  This inhale fills us full of the needed oxygen that optimizes our response to the stressors facing us.  

Sometimes it helps to do a count with the breath.  A beneficial count series would be exhale to a relaxed count of 7 then a 1 (between exhale and inhale) and a relaxed count of 7 on the inhale.  Ten cycles of will begin a significantly shift in how we are feeling inside.  Ten more cycles will shift us into an even more positive state.