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Breathing – your ticket out of even the tightest spots

Have you ever made it onto a plane, even though the whole world seemed to be geared against you? Or maybe you really wanted to do well in a meeting but you were in no way able to focus and prepare for it, because your head was being filled with millions of worst-case scenarios? Did you pay any attention to your breathing then?

That’s right: BREATHING. It can do wonders. I have experienced many situations that confirm that breathing, or rather correct breathing, can help you wind down. One of them, however, was so extreme, that I’d like to share it with you.

A couple of months ago, I was in Bali. Now, I know you must be thinking: “Lucky her…” Truth is, I was all but. My month-long stay saw one “disaster” following another. Natural ones, like the earthquake in the middle of the night, which I wouldn’t wish anyone, as well as the minor ones, like damaging a rented car, injuring a wrist and experiencing pain that made practicing yoga impossible, etc. All things considered, as the month was coming to an end, I couldn’t be happier about leaving for home!

My electronic ticket displayed the return date as October 31st, at 12:05 am. I have no idea why, but somehow this meant to me that the plane would be leaving on the night between October 31st and November 1st, when in reality it was to leave a full day earlier… To make you fully aware of just how dire the situation really was, I’ll just mention that it took around 2 hours to get to the airport from the town I was staying in. To be sure that I’d get through checking in and other formalities on time, I’d have to leave the hotel by 8:30 pm.

So it’s October 30th, a couple of minutes past nine (30 minutes after I should have left to the airport), and I, having just completed a relaxing walk on the beach, am lying in bed in my pajamas with a mask on my face, firing up Netflix. At this very moment, my sister messages me, and I decide to send her my ticket to show her what my trip will look like (this was a couple of days after an Indonesian plane crashed into the ocean).

A few short seconds after I send her the email, I get this reply “Kasia, but your plane leaves today…” I start trying to convince her that this is definitely not the case, but almost instantly realize that she’s right!!! I ran down to reception, waving my phone and asking when I’m flying, to hear “Miss Kasia, tonight!!!”. All I could muster was “car, now, please” and I sprinted to my room to pack. Packing looked more like a hurricane tearing through my room. I was throwing everything into my suitcase, no rhyme nor reason. I had to sit on top of it for it to close. I also had to rinse the mask off, put some clothes on… I stopped here and there to catch a breath or two. Half an hour later I was downstairs and a car was already waiting. It took off on a wild ride down the dark roads of Bali with me inside, trying to keep it together 😉

We got to the airport with just enough time to get through customs and make my flight, but in order to do so, I had to run. I got out of the taxi and felt I was not able to run, because my whole body was shaking like leaf and my knees had turned into jelly!

That’s when it hit me that all I had to do was divert my attention away from what’s happening and that thought that kept on saying “you’re not going to make it!” and focus on breathing. I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, closed my eyed, and deeply inhaled and exhaled ten times. So deeply, in fact, that I felt the air entering through my nose, my lungs and making its way to the lower parts of my body, to finally find its exit through my nose. I thought of nothing but my breathing, and I felt it with my whole body.

The breathing worked wonders! My body calmed down, I felt my legs again and made a dash for the check-in desk. I made it onto the plane (which was 30 minutes late) 🙂 

I’m sharing all of this, because it’s one example of the power of breathing and the effect it has on our bodies. All it takes are a few deep breaths to make a body that had previously been unable to move turn into the body of a sprinter making it to check-in on time (although the sprinter may be a bit of a stretch). The right breath, repeated over a certain time, relaxes our nervous system. Additionally, it shifts our focus away from the thoughts wreaking havoc in our heads to the present. Breathing is an easily accessible, but underappreciated, tool that helps work on our concentration, and better control our body and our mind.

The next time you feel overwhelmed by fear, panic or just anxious about something, try taking several deep, even and calm breaths. Sometimes, even three or five are enough to make a difference. All it takes is a short break, a few exhales and inhales, tuning into our body, and seeing the miracle happen!

You can also start practicing mindful breathing in your everyday life. It will definitely help you get your breath back in difficult situations. Everyday practice can look exactly like I’ve described above. It will be easier, because you will be shifting your attention to your breathing in an emotionally neutral moment. This will help you make a habit of mindful breathing.

If you want to share your story on how breathing can work wonders, send us a message at​ kontakt@healyourself.com.pl or post a comment on our Instagram or Facebook page.

If you think this article can inspire a person you care about to be mindful of their breathing or help them fight anxiety, share it!

Want to learn more or get in touch with a specialist?

If you want to learn more about mindfulness techniques taught by Thich Nhat Hanh, read „The Miracle of Mindfulnes” or „Silence”.

If you want to join our meditation group, you can sign up here: kontakt@healyourself.com.pl

Katarzyna

The information provided in the article is not written by a doctor and does not constitute medical advice. Any and all suggestions that are provided are informative by nature and should not be treated as substitutes for individual diagnosis and individually assigned treatment.

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