I have the word “breathe” tattooed on my left forearm. (Snoopy at his typewriter is on my right. :)) I felt the word was important enough to get permanently etched on my body because it is literally the first answer for EVERYTHING. Yes, there are going to be problems to solve. Yes, there are going to be actions that need to be taken. But the first step, the step you need to take before you do anything, is breathe. It’s one of the first things you learn in yoga (indeed, yoga IS breathing). The physiological benefits of mindful, deep breathing are real, and plenty. It slows your heart rate, sends more oxygen to your body, calms your nerves, relaxes your muscles, strengthens your lungs and your heart, and lowers your blood pressure. Plus…. it just feels good.
I see a lot of people who need to breathe right now – and I’ll include myself in that, because it’s never not a good time to breathe – so I give you the following two tools to help. Do one, or do them both. DO IT. The first is self-explanatory. Breathe along with the graphic. One slow, deep breath in, and one slow, deep breath out. And repeat.
The second is something that always helps me to breathe: the sound of running water. I took the little video at the cabin I go to up north, and still return to it from time to time to remind me.
Don’t overthink it. Don’t try to feel anything special, or get any particular result. Just breathe.