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Real Life Breathing — Some Suggestions
by Bret Lyon, PhD

Notice when you're breathing and when you're not. Most of us hold our breath for short intervals many times a day. When you notice you're not breathing — or your breathing is short and shallow — breathe! Yawning and sighing are great ways to start the breathing process as they are both powerful forms of exhaling. If you can get away with it, let the yawn or sigh be as loud as possible and don't cover your mouth.

Also notice what's happening in your life when your breathing is restricted. Often there is a tension, unpleasantness and a not wanting to be there that you might not even be aware of. One question you could ask yourself is, "What is it I don't want to feel right now?"

And notice the breathing of the people around you. We often pick up other's breathing patterns through empathy. Remember, you can help them, as well as yourself, by consciously breathing deeply. You might even remind them to breathe, especially if they are in an emotional or tight place. Helping someone (including yourself) to breathe more deeply is perhaps the first thing to do in a stressful situation.

Full breathing also helps to soften and ultimately lessen both physical and emotional pain. So "breathe into it." Also, remember to breathe both when you talk and when you listen. Some of us tend to run on when we talk, not leaving the pauses others need to assimilate what we are saying. The pause is the most effective tool in being clear and being heard. Breathing while listening is the best way to avoid that glazed look and feeling we sometimes get when someone else is talking.

Remember, breathing fully and regularly keeps us more aware of what's going on around us and what's going on inside us — both physically and emotionally. It also keeps us sharper mentally. If you become more conscious of your breathing and that of others in all situations — and if you breathe more continuously, you will enjoy life a lot more and find yourself getting more done with less effort.


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