Being present, mindfulness, and breath.
One of my favorite ways to help others begin to get a handle on being present or being still has to do with breath and breathing. We are all automatically breathing without much attention to it. Focusing on your breath is a very enlightening experience. When one focuses on one’s breathing often the depth of their inhalation increases which is so good for a person. Deep inhalation (breathing in) and long exhalation (breathing out) are the first line of action for reducing anxiety – in fact the fastest way to slow down your heart rate and get into the present moment is to focus on your breathing. I know those of you reading this that are busy and functioning well at a high degree of multitasking are lol right now at this suggestion. It seems unreasonable to suggest you take time from your already over packed schedules to stop and focus on your breathing. But it works. It moves you out of the automatic mode into the mindful mode and that transition will help you make fuller assessments and more accurate decisions and ultimately increase the amount you can accomplish effectively. Why? Because you will have access to all your senses including the intuitive, instinctual sense. It’s as if breath allows for the traffic of the information to move more smoothly and congregate into the proper groups so that your decisions have more depth and breadth, and more relevance to the present moment.
The best way to practice focused breathing is to find a quiet space where you can sit for 5 minutes – in a pinch the bathroom at your office, or the privacy of your car, will do. Sit down and breath in for a count of 5 and out for a count of 7. Doing this for a couple of minutes. If you are scientifically minded you may want to take your radial pulse before you begin and then after practicing for 2 minutes – your heart rate will have reduced after the two minutes of focused breathing in this way. Note: it’s important that your inhalation be shorter than your exhalation if you breath in for a longer count than breathing out you will increase your heart rate and feel anxious and hyperventilate. So keep your inhalation shorter than your exhalation. As you practice this over time you may find that you may also desire to increase the length of your inhalation and exhalation – that’s great just remember to keep your exhalation at least 2 counts longer than your inhalation.
I encourage you to begin practicing this today and do it whenever you think about it for 2 to 5 minute intervals throughout the day – several times a day. And to keep this practice going when you are not necessarily stressed but rather to increase your skill at it. After a bit of this practice, you may want to use the breathing technique when you are actually feeling stressed or when you are trying to get into the present and not act from an habitual reaction pattern.
In my opinion what we put our attention on increases, so focus on what is working in your life and be grateful you will find that more is right than you originally thought.
See you tomorrow.