There are lots of things we tend to take for granted in our lives — a roof over our head, food in our stomach, constant wifi access. Not to mention air in our lungs. Hell, breathe is life, yet we rarely even notice it. Oxygen in, carbon monoxide out — all without any effort on our part (thank God — imagine having to remember to breathe? I can’t even remember to water my poor plants).
But quality breathing makes a huge difference. Just ask a yoga instructor. And putting your attention on what your lungs are up to is like a mini-meditation — not to mention the myriad of health benefits deeper breathing brings.
How do you know if you’re doing it right? Your belly should expand when you breathe — not just your chest. That’s a sign of shallow breathing. And shallow anything isn’t good. In this case, it messes with the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood.
So next time a bad mood strikes (and it is Monday, after all), take some time to breathe. Breathe slowly, rhythmically, consciously. In and out through your nose. Count five breathes in, seven breathes out. Fill your abdomen with air. When thoughts pop up, let ’em go gently, and turn your attention back to breathing. Try to do this for at least 10 minutes.
You’ll feel better. I assure you.