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“Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.”― L. Frank Baum

Let’s take a look at one of the most effective ways to deal with anxiety and exhaustion. Before studying or working on a project or starting anything requiring peak performance, engage in a few moments of mindful conscious breathing. Here’s where we start. To practice this find a comfortable seated position and relax your shoulders and neck letting any tension melt away gently adjusting your posture. Sit as we have discussed in our healthy posture lesson keeping your feet uncrossed and on the floor.

Now breathe in deeply through your nose, hold the breath a few moments and then exhale out through your mouth completing a series of focused breaths. This ensures sufficient oxygen circulation for improved performance. You can close one nostril each breath alternating after three breaths to the other as you breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. Remember your mindfulness Mindhack (technique) from earlier and place your full attention on each breath feeling the air enter your nose and fill your lungs. If any thoughts come drifting into your mind simple note their existence and gently remind yourself to come “back to the breath” placing your attention back on each breath.  If you have the Back To The Breath mindfulness bracelet you can notice how it feels on your wrist or grasp it signaling your mind to refocus on your breathing.

Feel your chest rise and fall with each breath. Repeat this exercise until you feel yourself becoming more relaxed and calm. You could begin to focus on a saying such as “I breathe in peace” as you inhale and “I exhale love” on each exhale.  Do what feels good and life affirming to you.  Feel yourself connected to the world and supported by it’s beauty and strength.  

Breathing is life and it connects us to the vital energy of life when we do it with focus and intention. You can do this anywhere you find yourself experiencing unhealthy levels of fear or stress. It’s often helpful to do when you read something upsetting on social media and are tempted to feverishly type and tweet or post a reply. Pause, count to ten and breathe in peace then exhale stress as described above.

For example when my Internet connection drops at from time to time, instead of becoming upset as I used to I smile and say to myself “Oh good! An opportunity to meditate!” Then I do some mindful breathing.  Every problem we experience actually has an opportunity for growth and healing somewhere in it and eventually we see this. Sometimes it takes the distance of years to see how the crises in our lives actually brought us strength somehow or moved us to where we are now in life.

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This breathing gives you a type of circuit breaker like the kind in the fuse box outside your home that prevents all your wires from getting fried when there’s too much juice flowing into them. Remember to be healthier, happier, more prosperous and achieve our goals it serves us better to be mindful and not impulsive.