Today I’d like to talk about breathing some more.  Not about setting aside special times for it but just the normal stuff that happens through the day.

There are lots of times when we are waiting around


(despite – or because of – our obsession with time we seem to spend more and more time waiting).  There are those annoying recorded messages and phone queues.  There is waiting for friends and for meetings to start.  There is even waiting for the lights to change while driving.

Usually, if you are like me, you find waiting around frustrating and annoying.  (How I’d love, once I actually got on to a human being after being in one of those phone queues to say: “Thankyou, your call is important to me: so I’ll get back to you in ten minutes, meanwhile please enjoy listening to my favourite CD”).  However, we can do something different.

We can spend this time just watching our breathing.

Instead of wasting our time getting frustrated about something we can’t change, we can use this time to just enjoy our breathing.  Watching my breathing even the few seconds stopped at the traffic lights can make a positive difference.

Our breath is always with us.  We can always tune in to our breathing.  We can just watch it and so feel less stressed, or we can tune in and perhaps learn more about how we are feeling.  Whatever we choose, our breathing can be a great resource to help us live fuller lives.

2 Comments to “Breathing #3”

  1. nick pagan says:

    I have heard that one of the benefits of smoking is that it causes people to breathe deeply, which can have a relaxing effect. Bizarrely it also causes damage to the lungs – can you comment on the relaxing properties of breathing? I wonder if smokers could be persuaded to stop smoking and replacing the five minute smoke with three or four minutes of deep breathing. It’s a nice idea but I guess most smokers would feel daft just inhaling deeply around other people…

  2. Evan Hadkins says:

    Hi Nick,

    Thanks for your comment and question.

    I do think that just breathing can be relaxing. This is to do with the relaxing and activating sides of our nervous system. When we are active (in fight-fright-flight mode) our breathing is rapid and shallow. To breathe deeply can help us slip into relaxation mode (so long as we are not too upset).

    As to smoking. There is the addiction aspect – the lift and the drop afterwards are quite quick – so it is quite addictive. It does give people the chance to breathe deeply. It also functions in other ways – it is the only way some people have of taking time out and giving themselves a break. So smoking I think is social and emotional as well as physical.

    I think to stop smoking (or any other addiction) people need to get what smoking does for them in some other way. Breathing deeply is one simple thing.

    As to ways of doing it that don’t feel silly, it depends on the situation. In some places it would be OK to call it meditation. In other places it would be OK to say you were on a fitness kick and go for a quick walk. With loved ones it may be OK to ask for a hug and breathe deeply during the hug. These are just a few ideas.

    Please get back if you would like to pursue this some more.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope this response is useful.

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