Nothing is as important as our mental health but it is usually the last stop along the way of getting to know yourself. We already know what sets us off and we have a preconceived notion already on where fall on the craziness meter and we don’t need anybody else’s opinion there after. Nothing sets off somebody trying to gain control of their mental health than calling them crazy and I can attest to that. Everybody, and I mean everybody has something to say wen you start talking about depression, anxiety, suicide…like a been there done that attitude and now that I am not medicated anymore I am better than you. I am not better than anybody. I take my 300 mg dose of Effexor before I start my day supplemented by Ativan if the mood gets too pressing. The Ativan is my emergency drug. For the days the Earth threatens to crush me it allows me the opportunity to breathe. There is no bigger threat in life than having the oxygen in your lungs taken away. That gives us the perfect starting point for our first day of the Mental Health Challenge: Deep Breathing.
It makes the most sense we would start on where our journey first began in the outside world. The simple task of taking oxygen in and out to sustain us. A daily ritual that we have long taken advantage of therefore losing all power that it could potentially bring with. We do it subconsciously, freely that without noticing we take it for granted. Our breathing has long been tied to our emotional state so it stands to reason if we can gain control of our haggard breathing we will be able to control our mood, therefore reacting appropriately instead of unnatural state. Without even thinking these days (and usually at my husband’s irritants) I find myself staring blankly as I take one fully breath after another before answering to his angry cries. I have come to terms that it is unrealistic for me to ever make that man happy. In the absence of his unhappiness I began to focus on my own and it is in this focused breathing my anger with him subsides prepared for the new battle that comes when he feels ignored.
In a world full of heightened anxiety I have always been looking for a way to at least manage mine. There have been so many outside events that have threatened my sanity and the only reason why I am still on this line of normal is because I try to learn all that I can to achieve a better life. A part of that is being accountable for your reactions and trying to reduce the impact you may have on others. A simple breathing technique was introduced to me in my career in the cosmetic world and I have implemented it into my daily life (when I remember) and now I want to share it here with you. Breathing in itself is all that we need to keep us going so why not ensure that we are benefiting directly from what the power of a deep breath can do. At any given time there is a human out there whose soul purpose in life it will seem is to annoy you. Even though they have come to you seeking your professional advice they will ALWAYS say the opposite and work relentlessly until they get under your skin. Point and case my husband and most any other female looking for the perfect skin routine our rouge for a night out. Things can get so easily heated where they contradict themselves in saying they use moisturizing hand soap on their face and wants the perfect lipstick to stay off of their teeth without listening to reason about new formulations or products that could appease their needs. No, no, no, no or maybe it is the price point whatever is the deterrent has nothing to do with you and whether or not they are ready to make a purchase to begin with. Yes it could be irritating but you have to remember that in that moment she has all the purchasing power and in her mind she needs to work through how she needs to spend her hard earned dollar. All you need to do is stay calm and pleasant, answering all her annoying questions focusing on your breathing as she speaks. The beauty of it all as you focus on where you are internally you are directly affecting your health positively instead of carrying all the stress and weight of another with one deep breath you can exhale it out and let it go.
In moments of high stress the last thing we seem to remember is our breathing. One of my favourite things to do in my free time is to try and match my breathing with whoever is in the room. If it is ne of my pets I hug them in nice and close and nuzzle my face into their bodies and let my breath fall into time with theirs. This one simple gesture has been so incredible bonding and no words ever had to be exchanged. I just close my eyes and follow the blissful rhythm as we both get carried away. The first breath I like to really take in and let it sit deep down as far as it will go. Usually as the first breathe to synchronize with theirs I hold it in for at least one or two exhales of theirs. The key is to have your breathes match even if the direct count is off the multiple is still there. I like to use the inhale to see if there is any tension in my body or theirs and let the flow of breath concentrate there. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know if another being is unwell. Just listen to their breath catch and it will tell you all that you need to know. Breathing is intimacy. Breathing is power. There is nothing a fully oxygenated blood cell can achieve and think of the millions of cells you just ignited inside you to start your day. You can set your mood and day with just staying in control of the one thing we have always taken for granted our breath. Instead of focusing on taking people’s breath away let’s focus on breathing in life.
- Start by sitting or laying in a comfortable position, arms by side, feet apart and close your eyes.
- Allow one hand to rest above your belly with your pinky finger laying just above your belly button.
- Start noticing the rise and fall of your belly as you inhale slowly and count to 3 (as long as you wish to feel the healing benefits) and slowly exhale.
- Take your second hand and place on your chest noticing the rise and fall of your diaphragm as you do so. As you breathe think of the word relax and let it penetrate your being.
- Keep aware and in control of your breathing until you feel more relaxed and aware.