From the moment we’re born, while we are healthy, we take our breath for granted. While we successfully breathe unconsciously our entire lives, bringing consciousness to breath has an extraordinary effect.
When we’re upset with our partners (friends, family, co-workers), both psychological and biological things are happening. The fight or flight part of the brain takes over, and that clogs our thinking and can cause us to react in ways we might regret.
Simply taking one conscious breath can make all the difference. Some people spend a tremendous amount of time learning to breath consciously. Here’s a quick primer.
- Focus on inhaling through your nose (breathing from the nose filters, moisturizes, dehumidifies and warms the air, produces helpful nitric oxide, increases oxygen absorption, slows down breathing and reduces hypertension and stress).
- See if you can experience the oxygen moving into your blood cells, and spreading out from your heart and through your chest, arms and legs.
- Exhale (very important step).
The mind cannot focus on two things at once. When you focus on your breath, you break the brain’s fight or flight response, and it allows you to choose another way forward.
Whenever you find yourself or your partner stressed, irritable, frustrated, confused, etc., try a conscious breath.
We can achieve higher awareness simply by taking two or three conscious breaths a few times throughout the day. Conscious breathing slows down the mind, allowing you to get into a space of inner peace and awareness. It allows you to reduce your focus on the ego and feel the life presence within your body and all around you. It allows you to think better, and be a better coach, partner or friend.
In our Conscious Couples Workshop (there’s one coming March 8-10, 2013) we don’t spend a lot of time on breathing, but we spend a few minutes a few times each day. You can feel the shift in the room when everyone goes from unconscious cyclical thinking to a simple conscious breath. It works. Every time.