Friday, March 25, 2011

Slap Friday- The Heimlich For Your Soul


DUDE!  Are you BREATHING?!?


It’s FRIDAY peepers!! That means I’m almost officially on Spring Break and even though I’m an old curmudgeon who’s not going anywhere, I like the idea of being on a break from my exceedingly busy lifestyle. And fine...it also means that YOU are owed a smack in yo' face. 
           
Today’s lesson is about breathing.

I know you THINK you’re already doing this and you’ve got it down pat. After all, you’re reading this so on some level you MUST be respirating. Here’s a statistic I’ve made up but that’s mostly based in fact nonetheless:  Most of us aren’t deeply breathing for most of our day.

We’re tense.

We’re worried about the job, the mortgage, the kids, our health, the stats on our blog and the emptiness of our email boxes we set up so people could contact us for paid writing gigs at contactdirtywords@gmail.com. I’m speaking to the wider audience here…it’s not all about me. (It IS all about me, though…if I'm being honest.)

When I take even thirty seconds to pay attention to how I’m breathing I almost always find that I’m holding my breath. We really don’t breathe as often as we should or as often as we think we do. And getting a few good deep breaths every minute can change your life.

ACT NOW!

VERY scientific, yeah?
This is from Healing Daily:  Blood is pumped from your heart through your arteries to the thin, porous capillaries. The blood carries nutrients and oxygen to the capillaries, where they are diffused into this fluid around the cells called lymph. The cells, having an intelligence or affinity for what they need, take nutrients and oxygen for their health and then excrete toxins, some of which go back into the capillaries. But dead cells, blood proteins, and other toxic material must be removed by the lymphatic system. And the lymphatic system is activated by deep breathing.

I'm not just being woo-woo on a random Friday…deeply breathing will change how your body functions, and while you might already think you know that, I’m betting most people have forgotten it in practice.

In terms of woo factor, there’s this from ehow.com -(we breathe so poorly that we now have a “Breathing For Dummies" site…)

Because deep breathing requires relaxed, full breaths, it is a well-known stress-relief technique and is important to maintaining mental health. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, deep breathing "provides extra oxygen to the blood and causes the body to release endorphins." The Eastside Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy in Kirkland, Wash., recommends using "relaxed diaphragmatic breathing," a type of focused deep breathing, to reduce anxiety.

There are millions of small changes a person can make in a day to help their physical and mental well being, and you hear them ALL THE TIME. You’ve probably gone deaf to them because they're always attached to a marketing scam so you’ll buy whatever revolutionary thing is going to make you healthy and peaceful.

I hate to always harp on him, but my man Buddha had this one about the deep breathing right. Everyone wants to live free from suffering, anxiety and pain. Sure you can drink forty gallons of water and exercise two hours a day, seven days a week rotating heart crushing cardio with bone crushing strength training, you can limit your diet to insanely small amounts of calories or varieties of food….but if you’re not breathing….I wonder what the hell good all that other stuff is doing you?

The practice of PRANAYAMA means control of the breath and it’s vital. Pay attention for just a few moments to your own breath. What are you doing?

Holding? Breathing shallowly, in your chest only? Are the pauses between breaths long? Are you breathing very fast? 

If you close your eyes and take one full, deep breath all the way into your diaphragm and then slowly open your eyes, what happens? For me, a big breath like that resets my brain. I find a measure of relaxation that’s almost instantaneous.  When I take two or three of these deep breaths, my entire outlook changes.

b~r~e~a~t~h~e...

I’m still worried about my bills and about my sons and all the things I was worried about four seconds ago when I was holding my breath, but now I’m breathing again and my body is relaxed. I FEEL better while worrying. And maybe I’m just a skoshe less worried, even if I don’t consciously register it.

So that’s your slap for Friday March 25, 2011.  BREATHE DAMMIT! 

Often times a person will suck in their breath rather suddenly when surprised with a slap across the face…see how great I am? 

I’m always thinking of you. Now get to it.  

B r e a t h e.






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