(Video version can be found on my Facebook page – Peggy Smith Wellness May 31st, 2018)
Today my Deep Thoughts are about breathing. If you read my May newsletter you found my section that invites everyone to try something new for the month. This month it was to breathe deeper so it makes sense for us to do this together for the last Deep Thoughts Thursday of May!
Before we get started grab a pen and paper for something we are going to do together in a moment.
There is so much evidence that shows that most of us unintentionally short change our health and wellbeing with the way we breathe. We take shallow breaths that limit the diaphragm’s range of motion. The lowest part of the lungs don’t get a full share of oxygenated air which can make you feel out of breath and anxious. When you breathe deeply your diaphragm literally massages your heart which is so cool to think about. Deep breaths help us switch from our sympathetic nervous system (also known as our fight or flight response) to it’s calmer cousin – the parasympathetic nervous system (also known as our rest and digest response).
Yogis have known forever that we can either calm or arouse ourselves by changing the depth and pace of our breath but now mental health and other wellness professionals have begun recommending better breathing to patients suffering from a variety of ailments.
I have always felt intimidated by the idea of meditation, but I kept reading over and over again how important it is for our total health to breathe better. It was finally the science that pulled me in and made me give it a try. About a year ago I started a journey of discovering what this might look like for me. There are so many theories and forms and breath counts and holds and ways to sit. I knew that if this was to be something I maintained it had to be authentic for me.
One day while in the midst of a pretty stressful situation the practice I’m about to describe came to me. I think of it as directed breath and I combine the importance of breathing with something I consider equally life changing – controlling the messages we silently send ourselves all day long. I want each of us (me included) to be better at telling ourselves really wonderful, life affirming things throughout the day – and believing them.
So now is when you will need that piece of paper.
The first step is to write the following three things, leaving a space after each one. I KNOW (space), I LOVE (space)and I FEEL (space). Examples – I know (I am worthy), I love (myself), I feel (abundant).
Take whatever time you need to get the right words in there. These are affirmations you are going to breathe in and we want them to be meaningful to you where you are in your journey today.
Now let’s start to take some yummy, wonderful deep breaths. Just keep the inhale and the exhale even and do that a few times until you literally feel yourself start to calm down. If you can, use your nose for both the inhale and the exhale. Feel the air traveling all the way down to your belly, feel your ribs moving out away from you.
Okay, for this next part I want you to close your eyes and continue to do the same exact breathing, nothing there needs to change – just nice controlled, deep breathing at whatever pace feels right for you right at this moment. Now I want you to imagine the breath is filling up your brain space. You should literally have a sensation in your head, perhaps a little tingling or just a warm sensation. And now with each breath, while focusing on your brain I want you to say the I know phrase you wrote a few minutes ago. Let go of any negativity that would keep you from truly embracing that truth. Do that a couple more times.
Next we will direct our breath to our heart center. As you breathe in say your I LOVE phrase and as you exhale let go of untruths which might be holding you back from loving and being loved fully and completely.
Now we move to our gut and we focus our attention there as we say our I FEEL phrase. Our gut is our second brain and when we use the term “gut feeling” it is a very accurate way of describing the “gut instincts” we have about things. This area of our body is critical to our health. Let go of negativity from this life-giving center of who you are.
Awesome! Open your eyes and hopefully you notice that you are feeling more relaxed and less distracted. Part of the reason for breathing like this is it helps open your mind to become more joyful, less fearful and more balanced. You have more clarity and a better ability to make decisions. The beauty of incorporating breathing into your wellness routine is it can be done anywhere without anyone even knowing you are doing it!
Thank you for giving me a few minutes of your precious time. I hope something I said was helpful and propels you forward in the direction of a WELL life.
Let’s keep the conversation going by posting comments below! I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s topic!
And don’t forget to sign up on my website for the monthly newsletter! They come out the first Friday of each month – so that is tomorrow! This month I’m diving deep into the truths about fats and hopefully answering questions you have about this confusing nutrient.
If I can be an advocate for you in any way, please let me know!
Until next time friends – Be WELL!
XO – Peggy