Do you ever feel frustrated? Anxious? Stressed? How about a little low in energy? I do, too, at times, and I have found that focusing on breathing for a few minutes can help to bring things back into focus and recenter my thoughts. When I stop everything else, and just breathe, I am being in the moment, and stop my thought pattern in the moment. When I can stop my immediate thought pattern and redirect it, it can change my feelings and emotions and change the trajectory of my thoughts which changes the emotions which can change my day and if I do this often, it will change my future.
So, aren’t I already breathing? What does it mean to focus on my breathing then? Well, normally, my body just breathes for me through the autonomic nervous system, which is our body’s way of keeping us alive. However, when I stop and focus on changing my breathing, it is very relaxing and interrupting to our immediate situation.
Start by breathing in through your nose and out through your nose for a few breaths. Then, start counting for 3 seconds breathing in, and then 3 seconds breathing out. After doing this a few times, lengthen your breaths to 4 seconds. Count out, 1. . . 2. . . 3. . . 4 as you breathe in, and then open your mouth and let your breath out as a sigh for 1. . . 2. . . 3. . . 4. Then, think as you are counting to 4 and breathing in that you are breathing in love and light and peace. And as you are breathing out with a sigh, think in your head that you are breathing out stress and anxiety and fear, and anything else that you want to let go of.
By this time, you should be feeling a little calmer by just focusing on your breathing for a couple of minutes. Just keep focusing on your breathing for a couple more minutes. And then, as you are counting your breaths in and out, start to make your exhale a little longer than your inhales. For example, if you are counting to 3 while breathing in, then count to 4 or 5 while you breathe out. If you are counting to 4 or 5 while breathing in, then count to 6 or 7 while you are breathing out. This is a proven way to relax your autonomic system and help with relaxation.
At first, it may be difficult, and you may only be able to focus for a couple of minutes, or only count to a couple of seconds with each inhale and exhale; but as you practice breathing more, you will become better and able to reach longer time periods. Also, as you continue, you can add a mantra in your mind that is calming or uplifting to you. Be creative, and repeat one while breathing in, and one while breathing out, or whatever suits you. Or, just continue to breathe in love and acceptance and peace, and breathe out fear and anxiety and doubt.
There is a lot of room for variety here, so don’t get too hung up on the details, just focus on the idea of changing your immediate thought pattern that is stressing or filled with anxiety or fear or anger. Let me know how it works!