A simple way to use your breath to take a pause before reacting.
Hi, I’m Nicole C. Ayers, and I wanna talk to you today about breathing. The instinctive behavior of taking a breath, I think is one of the most miraculous parts of living in a human body. We just take in the oxygen; our body sends it to all the cells that need the oxygen. And then we exhale out the carbon dioxide, that waste that we no longer need, letting us have this big release, which I think is just amazing.
But aside from the physiological, just wowness of being able to breathe, our breath is also an amazing tool that we can use to help us navigate this human experience that we’re having. We often hear, you know, advice to just take a deep breath. If, if we’re having some big feelings or we’re finding ourselves anxious or something.
And the reason people often tell us [00:01:00] to take a deep breath is because it is a calming thing to do. I wanna, uh, stop here for just a moment though and say, you know, really think about your words. If you see someone that’s in distress, maybe saying, take a deep breath isn’t the best advice. I know when I have been in a situation where I’m spiraling and someone’s told me to breathe, that that really just is aggravating or frustrating to me.
And if someone’s in some real physical distress, it might not be something that they can really access right in the moment. So maybe instead of saying, “hey, take a deep breath,” maybe you just start modeling that yourself and you start taking some calming breaths, and eventually with your calm presence, maybe the person with you could tap into that too. Just a thought.
But let’s go back to talking about using the breath as a tool for ourselves. So anytime that I [00:02:00] am experiencing a bigger feeling, you know, uh, some anger or some fear or some anxiousness, even sometimes a lot of joy, you know, I, I will find, I start to, to feel this real spirally feeling, and my mind starts clicking and has a lot of things to.
I also know that that first reaction isn’t always my best reaction. It’s not the way I really wanna show up. So I use my breath as a tool to help me get a little bit grounded and calm down. And I know there are lots of really amazing programs that teach breathwork and how, you know, how you can really use your breath to get into certain spaces.
But I wanna tell you that it can be a lot simpler than that. When I am really just trying to calm, to get grounded, to check in with myself about how am I doing, I just start to notice my breath. I [00:03:00] don’t try and change anything about. I just pay attention to it.
So things I’m paying attention to. Am I breathing in through my nose or my mouth? Where am I exhaling? Again, is it through my nose? Is it through my mouth? What parts of my body are moving when I breathe? I mean, maybe I’m up in my shoulders and in my chest; maybe I’m down in my diaphragm.
I also notice are my breaths shallow? Are they coming quickly? Or am I, am I taking some slower breaths? Are they deeper?
And once I start doing that, what I often find is that they will slow on their own. They will deepen on their own, but I don’t try and force anything.
So I’d love to know how you use your breath as a tool. And just remember, this is something that’s almost always available to you, to help you just take a pause, check in with yourself, and then make a decision about how you wanna react to whatever [00:04:00] is in front of.
Take good care.