This morning marked the 27th day in a row of being back on track with my daily meditation practice. Each morning for the last 27 days, as the coffee brews, before I leave the house, I sit in my chair with the window open, close my eyes and practice 10-15 minutes of meditation.
I’m bringing this up today is because every day there is a lesson at the end of my meditation. A little tidbit to remember throughout the day, and today’s tidbit is something we can all benefit from.
“The breath is a useful barometer for noticing how the body and mind are feeling.”@Headspace
Breathing is an autonomous process in the body, meaning it happens whether we think about it or not. But do you ever stop to notice how you’re breathing?
Are your breaths short and shallow?
Long and deep?
Slow and controlled?
Fast and erratic?
Are you holding your breath without realizing it?
All of these can be indicators of how we’re feeling – physically or mentally.
If we’re feeling stressed or anxious, typically our breathing is going to shift towards being a little shorter and more shallow, perhaps a bit erratic. In these situations we may even notice we’re holding our breath without realizing it.
On the flip side, if we’re laying on a beach on vacation without a worry in the world, completely calm and relaxed, we may notice that our breathing is a little slower. More relaxed and controlled. Maybe we’re taking deep breaths a little more consistently.
It’s important to understand that neither of those are right or wrong, good or bad. They just “are”. It doesn’t do us any benefit to criticize our breathing or try to make it “better”. However, simply being aware of how we’re breathing in a non-judgemental way can provide us with enormous feedback into how our bodies and minds are feeling.
So, take a few moments today to think about how you’re breathing. Notice each breath coming in and out. Begin to realize how you’re feeling in that moment and if perhaps your breathing is reflecting that.
If we want to change how we feel, the first step is simply being aware. And that starts with the breath.