How hard can that be right?
It sounds so simple yet just focusing on our breathing can be incredibly difficult. Think about it . . . with so many distractions – when was the last time that you stopped and noticed your breath? (besides the last time you laughed while chewing and choked on your food – it’s ok we all do it). It seems that only in times when we are actually incapable of breathing do we really remember how important it is to us. Breathing is so automatic we rarely think about the incredible capacity that our bodies have to keep us alive – all without us even having to pay attention. It’s kind of amazing really.
Noticing our breath can also be an incredible way to center us in hectic times. And since the holiday season is now upon us, it seems like the perfect time to take a moment to pay attention to our breath – because sometimes that is all we can do. We may not be able to change our families, or the screaming person we are standing next to in line as we try to get that one last gift or the cars blocking our path on our way to work – but we can breath – and at least that can make the chaos a little more bearable.
It doesn’t take a lot of time. You don’t need any equipment. You don’t even need to be alone. All you need is the intention to focus on your breathing.
Just start by noticing your body bringing air through your nose. Notice how it feels as air passes down your throat. Allow yourself to notice your lungs expanding. Try breathing in until you can’t breath in anymore. Notice how full your chest feels. Pay attention as you slowly begin to exhale through your mouth. Feel the air as it leaves your lips and repeat. Try to let everything else fall away until your breath is the only thing on your mind (Probably best to pull over for a minute if you’re driving – safety first).
Some people find it helpful to add counting to their breathing as a way to keep focused. If that works better for you try breathing in to the count of five, holding your breath to the count of five, and then slowly exhaling to the count of five. Make sure to give yourself a few normal breaths and then go again.
When we are grounded and centered we are able to make better choices and not get caught up in the holiday chaos. Then instead of just pulling our hair out we are able to spend more of our energy happily sharing the holidays with friends and family, which is my wish for you.
Peace and light to you and your loved ones this holiday season,