Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Breathing: The Most Important Tool in My Life Kit!

Every now and then life gets sticky, runs are more difficult, and the sun hides out behind the clouds for longer than I'd like. It is during these times in life (and sometimes they all happen at once, so it is a collective and singular time) that I find breathing to be my best tool.

One kid is galloping around the house like a Pony Express rider gone wild while the other is climbing chairs to get scissors and staplers out of the "grown-ups only" cupboard in the kitchen to "Project, Mama!". This is a recipe for disaster, especially if that first kid rides past the chair too quickly and knocks down the arts and crafts kid. Yelling seems easiest, but from experience I know that yelling just makes the horse go faster and more items fall out of the cupboard. What to do? BREATHE first, then assist the crafty gal in getting more age-appropriate items and suggest that the rider pull the horse to the nearest watering hole for a break. The BREATHE some more.

Now that my running workouts are back on track, I'm starting to increase my speed. Sometimes this is liberating and motivating, other times I think my body would rather go back to bed. When I realize negativity is getting hold of me with thoughts of cutting the run short or slowing down to make things easy, I get back to my BREATH and get in a steady rhythm, aligning my breaths with my stride. More often than not, once I get control of my BREATH I can finish out the scheduled run - and sometimes even knock out a little extra distance with a smile. I love how empowering those BREATHS can be!

While my rate of respiration never will be able to control Mother Nature and the amount of sunshine we get (or as of late, don't get), BREATHING does help me focus on what we DO have. Warmer temperatures enable us to take family walks, which make for happier kids, adults and dog. "Sun breaks", as they're called out here, are perfect opportunities for weeding a few square feet of garden while Mr. Music whacks trees with sticks and Little Sister slides, slides and slides some more on our little backyard structure. It may just be 10 minutes, but those 10 minutes are crucial to everyone's sanity and overall well-being.

And for this writer, BREATHING is the key for clearing the clutter from the mind. A calm BREATH makes everything more manageable. And taking the time to BREATHE makes me a happier, better person.

How about YOU? How does deliberate BREATHING support you in your times of stress - or times of delight?


Stacy Nyikos said...

Man, that's all I do when I'm stressed because it seems like the only thing I can control, breathing. Simple yet so essential!

Jess said...

Thanks to yoga, I learned those same calming, deep breaths that can de-stress and calm you. I use it sometimes when trying to fall asleep, but I even find I do it while in a scary place, like the doctor's office.

Brianna said...

Yoga is totally what got me through the labor and delivery of both of my kiddos, so I hear you, Jess!

Nitmos said...

Right on! Whenever I get fatigued I always concentrate on relaxed breathing to right the ship.