The Comfort Within – It’s In Your Breath

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Let go of the battle. Breathe quietly and let it be. Let your body and your heart soften.

Open to whatever you experience without fighting ~ Jack Kornfield

Relentless stress has become the background hum of daily life. You grind through each day with chronic stressors that go unnoticed and are taken as ‘just the way it is.’ You rush to work, battle traffic, deal with deadlines at work, struggle with conflicts with co-workers, worry about the cost of living and how you will meet your financial obligations. You expend effort to support loved ones’ needs to the exclusion of your own desires and find yourself longing for some quiet, restorative rest and just want some magic someone to come along and turn off the endless demands for you. With all that’s going on in the world these days, it’s not surprising that we often seek the comfort of someone else’s reassurance to shore up our sense of wellbeing. It seems, however, when everyone is looking to others for support, there is no one available to give it to us.

To get comfort:

  • Give it to yourself – make your environment peaceful, uncluttered and spacious. Surround yourself with what makes you exhale and smile when you arrive home. Be in nature, meditate, and give yourself permission to live within the boundaries of your personal safety.
  • Give it to others– be a source of kindness, listening, and honoring of others – serve others. In service to others, you also serve yourself.

Most of all … Breathe

The breath is one of the simplest yet profoundly powerful tools in your personal wellbeing arsenal. Your breath is one thing you can rely on. It is always with you and it will never abandon you. When you work consciously with your breath, you can learn to reduce anxiety and turn down the volume on the inner bully that pushes you without mercy and will not let you rest. Your breath can bring you into the present moment and generate a sense of calm as it slows down the chaotic noise of our angst. It can heal past trauma as it releases the trapped energy associated with old hurtful experiences that no longer support our growth or joy.

One real, sustainable answer to accessing solace and peace may lie in the simple thing you do every day – breathing.

Physiologically, when you direct your breath in a disciplined way, you can slow your heart rate and decrease your blood pressure. You can calm the brain’s over-reactive neural behavior so that your central nervous system can pour soothing messages into your body. In a nutshell, the breath can decisively put the brakes on the disruptive and damaging stress responses that fill your body with cortisol and adrenaline.

 

Try this for 10 days ->

Put aside just 2 minutes per day, first thing in the morning and just before bedtime. Slow down your breath by breathing consciously in the following manner: Breathe in for four counts, hold for seven counts and exhale for eight counts. Do this for just two minutes.

See how many more times during the day you can spontaneously practice this breath protocol. Keep track to see how you can increase your breath awareness and calm your stress.

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Your breathing is your greatest friend. Return to it in all your troubles and you will find comfort and guidance~ Buddhist Master

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