In times of stress our breath can be our best friend. All I have to do these days is listen to five minutes of news, of hurricanes and political tensions, and I start to feel a sense of overwhelm. I become aware that I am either holding my breath or it has gone very shallow. My body tightens up in a fear response where I feel quite helpless in the face of these disturbing situations. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
Even when we don’t feel overtly anxious, there can be undercurrents of worry that create tension. Our breath connects us to something greater than ourselves. It has long been key in the practice of mindfulness and meditation. It is the most powerful tool available to us in helping us relax and come to the calm at the center of our being where we know in that moment that everything is okay.
So try this: Take in a deep breath all the way down to the soles of your feet. As you exhale, relax your body. Do this for a few minutes relaxing a little bit more on each breath. You could even imagine breathing in the light, love and support of the universe where you feel safe and inspired by new possibilities.
As conscious breathing relaxes our body and mind, it boosts our immune system and enhances our creativity capacities. It calms the more primitive part of our brain associated with our fight, flight or freeze response and gives us greater access to the parts of our mind involved in creative problem solving. From here we can find inspiration to come up with new solutions for ourselves and the world.