3 Steps to Breathing Easier

deep-breathDaily life brings its challenges for all of us. No matter if we are single, coupled, with kids, without kids, tall, short, in amazing shape, in horrible shape, employed, unemployed, rich, or poor.

A few days ago I had a conversation with a woman with a four-year-old child and a baby on the way. “I miss the days that my life was my own,” she shared. The wild thing is that just a few minutes earlier I had been thinking about the fact that I don’t have any children, and I’m single to boot. To be honest, earlier in the day I had felt a deep sense of envy for those with a family.

And there I stood looking into the eyes of a woman who was overwhelmed and wishing she could experience once again the freedom I own. Having said this, I can’t help but think we all need to learn to breathe easier – no matter our station of life:

1. Be thankful for NOW. We human beings are pros at being half-present in our daily lives. We fret about the past, freak out about the future, and get lost in a web of confusion.

One day in the future I may find myself bogged down with familial responsibilities and wish that I had experienced my singleness and freedom with joy. Or, the woman with child will wish she could have poured her being into motherhood the day she sees her daughter go off to college.

Author Leo Babauta suggests thinking of three good things a day to avoid becoming bitter or frustrated. Or, I’ve been trying to make a concerted effort lately to do something to disrupt negative thought patterns — such as a long walk or workout.

2. Get in a flow. Breathing into the moment and pouring focus/energy into being and doing results in “flow.” The concept coined by Mihaly Cskiszentmihalyi (a positive psychology expert) sees a person fully immersed into what they are undertaking. He or she operates with “energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process” of an activity.

If you need a bit of reference for this type of being, think back to when you were a child swimming in a pool or climbing trees. You were in the “here and now” so very deeply. Activities were pursued with passion, laughter, and sometimes tears.

Let’s get back into that groove as adults, pouring ourselves into our lives with all we possess. I’m thinking we’ll sleep much better and smile more.

3. Meditate and or pray. Take time to find silence. Discover a meditation or prayer practice that works for you and dedicate at least five minutes to it per day.

Bonus Tip: Love freely. “Those who can’t say I love you, can rarely say I forgive you.” I recently heard these words. I find them so simple, yet so very profound.

Our breath is also directly connected to our ability to love and forgive. If we can’t love ourselves and others — if we can’t forgive ourselves and others — how can we breathe with ease? Our insides instead become gobbled up with resentments, frustrations, and fear.

Life is so very short!!

Let’s dare to enjoy the moment, get in a flow, and find a bit of quiet time reserved for breathing free.

– Jen Engevik

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