Addicted to Breath

It amazes me, truly amazes me, how impactful taking two deep breaths can be on a person. It amazes me, how if you focus on your breath your nervous system and anxiety can be adjusted.

From a young age we are told when upset to take a deep breath. I can attest to this as when I’ve babysat or been around parents with infants crying they say exactly that. Actually, it is more of a question asked, but you know what happens?!

The child LISTENS! They listen, they begin to take a deep breath, they start to calm down and then are able to listen to what the parent, guardian, or babysitter are telling them.

Slowly over time being asked to take a breath became being told to take a breath by someone of authority if we were emotional. (I don’t say upset because we all have been told it in varying degrees). I would be lying if I said that I didn’t get fired up once in a while if someone told me to take a breath.

The difference is I have become addicted to breathing. I have become addicted to the way it calms me down, addicted that natural ability to defuse my emotions, addicted to the ability to take a natural pause.

After taking two different style yoga classes in the last week I became even more aware of this addiction. One instructor taught a basic vinyasa flow with guidance and focus on breath and movement. The second instructor taught at a much more advanced level and didn’t queue breath and movement together. While I embraced the challenge of the second one I almost walked out.

Then I remembered that I control my own breath. So instead of continuing with the rest of the class I allowed myself a minute. I sat back in child’s pose and focused in on my own breath.

In doing some more research I was re-educated on the fact that shallow breathing is tied to our fight or flight instinct. Shallow breathing is most often a factor/result of stress, anxiety, depression and fear. In taking deep breaths it allows the heart rate to become normal, better oxygen flow within your blood stream and helps release the tension within your body.

My breath has helped my anxiety and my fear. It has helped me take a step back from allowing myself to throw my hands up after one week and say “Okay I did it” and beg for my old job back.

Take two deep breaths, then see where you are.  Do you notice a difference in your heartbeat? Do you notice you feel a bit clearer in the mind? Your breath is entirely within our control, there is a lot we do not control in life, but this beautiful gift of breath is one that we do. Use it!

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Never Say Never

What happens when you say the word never?  Can you think of instances when you state this word?  Let me give you a few:

  • I will never jump out of an airplane
  • I will never like sushi
  • I will never go camping when it does not include plumbing
  • I will never go hiking
  • I will never sleep in a tent
  • I will never settle
  • I will never do yoga and be able to calm down
  • I will never run a 5k
  • I will never meditate
  • I will never forgive this person

Guess what?  I have said every single one of those statements, those are all real life examples from my very own life, every single one, with the exception of jumping out of an airplane, is no longer valid.

Now this may just be the Brené Brown or Gabby Bernstein coming out but when I use the word “never” it always is in a negative way.  There is no positive thinking that occurs when I have used the word never, most often it is from disgust, defensiveness or stubbornness.  Over the last few years I have realized how much saying the word “never” limits me.  By stating that I would never do something I was preventing myself from being open to new opportunities and lessons.

In another post I’ll talk further but I have dug a lot into mindfulness and how your thoughts create your reality.  By stating sentences with “Never” in it I was immediately creating a wall, I was shutting down any opportunities that may come forth.  For years I told people I would never do yoga because it was too slow for me, I thought I’d injure myself and that I thought it was boring.  Quite honestly I just thought I would embarrass myself with my lack of flexibility and also not get the “body” I thought I wanted.  By this sentence I limited myself from being more conscious of my bodies abilities, from a stress reliever, and a community I never knew existed.

I have recognized to not state these sentences that limit my thoughts, actions and opportunities.  After dating my boyfriend for two years we had the opportunity to hike Mt. Katahdin.  This hike was the second hike I had ever done in my life, lets be honest I had big dreams.  I trained for six to eight months (think stair stepper, a lot of the stair stepper) at the gym wanting to ensure I prepared my body for what was to come.  Mt. Katahdin was one of the scariest, eye opening, and emotional things I have done in my whole life.  It took us 12 hours and at the end I collapsed on a picnic table and cried.  Cried from pent up fear from the trail (Knife’s edge, it’s called that for a reason) and from the fact I completed something I said I would never do.  This experience was one of the biggest examples I have to date that if I had continued to say “I’ll never do that” I would not have the memories I have now and I wouldn’t be able to count it as one of my biggest accomplishments.

When people ask me if I’ll do something or try something most often my response is “Maybe not right now but never say never”.  To be quite honest I thought I would never complete in a obstacle race, this past November I completed my first ever Spartan Sprint race.  I found out about it from my friend who was pulling together a team, I read the information, said “Why not, f**k it, might as well” and signed up then and there.  I didn’t do it for time, or to see what I needed to improve upon.  Quite honestly I can’t say I trained “properly” either but I did it for fun and to see what I could do.

I think when you say sentences including “never” you limit yourself from those experiences.  You limit yourself from the potential to say “I did this, I can do it again”.  I challenge you to do your best and Never say Never again.

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