Updated: Jul 29, 2020
I forgot about breathing. Buzz, buzz, “It’s time to breathe!” says my fancy little Apple Watch. When this first happened to me I was a bit confused. Asking myself, “but I’m already breathing?” I used to be one of those stereotypical guys who’s never paid any attention to breathing or meditation. I’ve always been fully aware of the benefits that these type of exercises and meditation can bring but never tried or even contemplated trying until Apple told me to.
So naturally, I thought I would give it a go and attempted one minute of Apple’s breathing exercise (as I had little prior knowledge of any other breathing exercises). As the watch vibrated, I breathed in and once it stopped vibrating I would breathe out. This process continued for the minute.
At first I didn’t get it. I thought that it was just a waste of my minute.
It’s been a while since I’ve been receiving those notifications and low and behold that minute is now 5 sometimes even ten. What I discovered is that initially I closed myself off to something that now helps me put things into perspective and focus.
I use these breaks as a time to reflect on things by focusing on one small thing, my breathing. For me it wasn’t something that I expected would help me so much. Usually when I try and tackle my problems, I try and face them head on. However, I’ve now realised that having the patience to focus on something as simple as your breathing, bringing it to attention and maintaining that for an extended period of time can be difficult but rewarding thing to do.
Although carrying out a breathing exercise might not seem like something that can immediately achieves anything in the grand scheme of things, it’s one little task that you’ve already completed. One tiny thing that’s help put you back in to focus ready to tackle the next problem or the next challenge. One step closer to figuring out what it is you need to be or one step closer to building your vision.
I recently re-watched a film called “The Martian.” I don’t want to spoil it but in a nutshell Mark Watney (Matt Damon) gets left behind on Mars and he has to figure out how to survive. At the end of the film, Mark says something that really stuck with me, hitting several nerves and prompting a call to action. He says:
“You do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.”
When I think about this quote and I compare it to my breathing exercises, it’s one action, one step, one task that’s helping me figure out where home is and how to get there.
To get you started here’s a simple breathing exercise from verywellmind.com to help get you started:
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Your abdomen should expand, and your chest should rise very little.
Exhale slowly through your mouth. As you blow air out, purse your lips slightly, but keep your jaw relaxed. You may hear a soft “whooshing” sound as you exhale.
Repeat this breathing exercise. Do it for several minutes until you start to feel better
Following these exercises, I usually hop to mykagami as they often trigger realisations through reflections and I think it’s important to capture these.
Good luck with your breathing!