I breathe every day. I’m sure you do too. We all breathe. If you are looking for a way to feel connected with the world, perhaps this is it. Every one breathes. We have more in common than we have different.
But it is the quality of breath that I want to discuss today. Every day I do some quality breathing. Some of that quality breathing I do is contained within a meditation. I meditate every day. Sometimes twice a day. If you don’t meditate now, you must start. If you think you haven’t got time, then get up 10 minutes earlier and meditate first thing. Breathing with purpose for 10 minutes will rock your world. It is the key to wellness. When I meditate all I do is clock my breath. I focus on breathing. I cannot tell you how much this improves my mental well-being. It is the core of my Recovery. I figure if you are going to do it anyway, you might as well do it smarter. I ask myself – How can I breathe to help me to feel well?
It is simple. For a short period of time I control my breathe. Simple but intimidating. When I meditate I try to just observe the breathe… not change it. But as soon as I observe it, it changes. Suddenly what was involuntary becomes a task. Suddenly I choke and I can’t remember how to breathe. If I’m not careful, I panic. And that feels a lot like anxiety. I don’t want to trigger my Fight or Flight response. So to make it easier, I set myself an exercise. I distract myself with an activity. I count my breaths. Up to 20 and back down again. An inhale and an exhale count as one. Gradually I relax into this.
And then the breath begins to expand. Without even trying I find myself breathing deeper. And then I can just observe the breath. I play with it. Rather than Fight or Flight, I am now in a state of Stay and Play. I breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth; I breathe in through my mouth and out through my nose. I play with pausing at the top of the breath; I play with holding at the bottom of my breath. I close one nostril, then the other, I alternate closing nostrils. Sometimes I do a pattern, sometimes I’m all over the place like jazz. When I stop and just breathe, the breath has changed. It has been stretched and now it feels more relaxed.
I feel grounded. I feel ready to face the world. I feel transformed. I think, if I can control my breath, I can control anything. I am king of the world.
Try it today. You have to breathe anyhow; you might as well have some fun with it. You might as well master. Today you can start on the journey to Recovery.
About the Author – Kate Hull Rodgers is an expert by experience. She has been mentally ill since 1986, more than 30 years. She is diagnosed as bi polar and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) Every day she battles to be in recovery, many days she wins. She speaks in corporate workplaces with her company www.humourus.co.uk. She has spoken in 29 countries. Also she runs Stepping Stone Theatre for Mental Health www.steppingstonetheatre.co.uk with her husband, Bill- and she is still happily married. Mustn’t forget, she is the proud mother of Harvey and Dominic – and the dog, Zebbie.