When things get hectic, chaotic, out of balance, and even scary, I find what helps many of my life coaching clients is to provide them with tips on how to find breathing space.
Breath is first. It is life, it is the rhythm that is indicative of whether we’re in a good-feeling place or one that is challenging. It’s also automatic; we take it for granted. The engine keeps running and we have no reason to think about it as long as it’s running or keeps us running. Its fuel, which is air, is all around. It’s free and there’s an abundance of it everywhere we go, so really all the more reason for us not to give it much thought.
We will, however, pay attention to our breathing when we feel a difference in our bodies and even then, unless it’s painful to breathe, we don’t consider it as a solution to feeling better. It’s quite normal, really. We’re usually problem-solvers. Most of what we create comes from a place where something needs to be improved upon, a problem to be solved, so unless the problem is painful breathing, our attention is not drawn there.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say the problem is you’re under pressure at work. You see the source of the problem as being at work, outside of you. It’s quite logical to think that finding a way to affect that source, to change it, get rid of it, get away from it is the way to go.
The reason behind wanting to influence what you perceive to be the source of the problem – something or someone at work – is that you want to feel better and therefore breathe better even though again, most people usually don’t think in those terms because of how automatic that function is in our bodies. You don’t realize your breathing is affected by how pressured you feel at work in our example, but it is, and it is good news because it gives you leverage.
Here’s why. How you want to feel (eg, better, happier, more relaxed, more enthusiastic, more energized, useful, appreciated, supported, safe etc.) – often translates into the optimum breathing experience for you. It just so happens that the optimum breathing experience also opens the door to feeling better. Consequently, it is absolutely within your power to start by directly affecting your breathing in order to make space for more enthusiasm, appreciation, joy etc. So reversing the equation is the key.
To that end, I suggest meditating on the following questions and keeping the answers in some kind of treasure chest that will be most useful on “rainy days”:
What gives you breathing space?
What increases your breathing capacity?
What brings you relief and soothes you when you think of it? Images? Memories? Certain kinds of music? Exercising? Playing? Dancing? Singing? Painting? Travelling?
What transports you into a world that only brings fun, joy and wonder?
It’s a lot easier and more effective to affect your mood by realizing what creates more breathing space inside of you than to try to change the world around you. The side effect of that is feeling empowered by the whole process. A wonderful bonus!:)
PS: the picture illustrating that article is one of my breathing spaces. Its impact on me is quite magical. It only takes minutes for the soothing effect to take place, for me to feel calmer, to breathe more deeply and fully, for joy to come back in, to feel that inside smile that makes everything brighter and that feels like home. Then I remember who I am, what is important to me and why. I connect to love, kindness and reverence and remember that we’re one. Once I’m there for a few minutes, inspiration blooms like a flower in the sun.
You can find me at www.thepowerofemotions.ca