personal

Breathing

I mentioned in my post about the Apple Watch that I enjoyed the breathe app. It triggers you to breathe in a specific pace for a minute, focusing on only your breathing. I don’t know if it’s like this for everyone, but even just one minute is hard for me to concentrate on the breathing without thinking of other “things” – things I need to do, things I want to do, things around me. Given how my mind works – fast, thinking all the time, thinking (and worrying) three moves ahead (I get it from my Mom) – the breathing app is very helpful.

Today I did the breathing app in my Uber ride to the hotel from the airport. I stopped writing this post at the end of the last paragraph. Here’s the things I thought about in addition to my breathing:

  • The song playing on the radio. “Killing me softly” by The Fugees; I’m a big fan, and love that song.
  • This blog, what will I write next.
  • Scuba diving.

That last one probably deserves an explanation. One of the things I like best about the app is that to stay with its rhythm you have to take really big inhales and fill your lungs, and then good long exhales through the mouth. I am apparently not a very good breather naturally, or have small lungs, or something. When I learned to scuba dive, and even when I got decent at it, I always used my tank up more than the rest of the group. I can’t tell you how many instructors and guides asked me whether I was a smoker (which I’m not). So the breathing app reminds me of when I first did a yoga class, where you get to learn how to breathe. That was several years ago, but I still remember learning for the first time that when I breathe in my stomach should expand outward. So I apply that lesson periodically even today, like if I’m out for a run and feel a bit out of breath.

Separate side note, Microsoft Word’s grammar engine must be pretty good because I typed “breath” three times in that paragraph but in two cases it should have been “breathe” and it caught those.

I also was looked at funny when my stress test didn’t go very long at a physical and it wasn’t my heart or leg fatigue, etc. – I was just out of breath.

Anyway, the breath app helps me actually breathe.

Of course the other major benefit is the relaxation and calming effect, particularly when I am able to narrow the other thoughts going through my head. This for me is also a good patience exercise. Patience was my one word last year, at the same time Joyce’s one word was actually breathe. We both felt the need to “slow things down” – I equate it to sports when players and teams are in a zone, they fell like the game is going slower and they are able to see plays developing and forecast better next moves. Life can be like that at times. I suppose it’s often work examples, like you have your day planned pretty good and then the boss calls and asks for a report right away for the CEO and two minutes later HR calls with an emergency and suddenly you are playing some pretty serious defense and just reacting to things. What we want, of course, is “control” and play the game at our pace. Not always possible, so tricks like breathing can at least help you slow down your own reactions and attitude to the situation.

And it happens in life too – how many times do we have multiple things happen to us and ask a higher power when enough is enough. Your cat just died, your mom called and your sister got in a car accident last night and can you come help, and your child’s most important soccer game is tomorrow morning and you are the coach. Time to breath for a minute.

Literally a minute. And it has really helped me, I hope it can help you. I also presume you can do it without spending hundreds of dollars on an Apple Watch…

 

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