The Power of 5
So what is the big deal with taking 5 deep breaths? How can it have such a major impact in all our lives? I will explain and give full detailed instructions so you will see and feel the results in your life like I did in mine.
What I have learned about breathing and valuing our breath is that you have to have some type of plan. When there is no plan then there is no direction and then it simply falls by the wayside. When you have a plan and a direction you find a way to make it your own. You will then see results, build a routine and feel good about it. It will slowly work its way into every part of your life without forcing it.
Breathing, like I said happens naturally, but now we are going to learn the steps that I used to fall in love with my breath.
5 deep breaths that we pay attention to. We breathe deep and we let out the air. This seems very easy, right? Well when I started to practice this it really became a challenge and I was very surprised. I had a hard time actually paying attention and completing this task. My mind would wonder and I would forget what I was even doing and why I was doing it. I would lose track of how many breaths I had taken and then I would just say “screw it, this is pointless!” I chose to get creative and come up with a way of doing this so I would not lose count and I would not be distracted. So, I decided to use an old running trick from my past.
When you start running, you use one of your hands to keep track of running and walking alternating between each. You have 4 fingers and a thumb, so you have a natural tool to count to 5. You close your hand, and you would run, open your thumb up, run for a minute, then stop, open you first finger and walk, then open your 2nd finger run, 3rd finger walk, 4th finger run and then you would end.
The length of time you spent doing each task was up to you and how much time you could handle running to walking. Sooner or later, you would just run and not walk at all, you would build up your strength and stamina so running was natural over time.
So why not use this exercise to count my breaths and when I was done, I would feel good. I kept track of my breaths, I finished the task and I was calm and breathing deep.
I started with going on walks with my dog. Breathing deep and keeping track of where I was in my breaths with my fingers, paying full attention to my breath as I inhaled and exhaled. I trusted that I was doing it right because I had my counting system fully in place. This meant I was free to enjoy each deep breath as I walked. I would maybe do this exercise 4 or 5 times on each walk.
Over time I discover something very interesting and very eye opening! As I walked, I realized that after doing the 5 deep breaths that it became my normal state of breathing! Meaning that when I was walking I was breathing that deep the whole time. I was feeling that warm sensation in my chest and I didn’t have to count anymore!
This took some time to happen. It was kind of like training myself and hitting a rest button. Creating a new normal. If I could accomplish this while I walked then I could do it in my normal life as well! All I would have to do is start! Start breathing deep all the time. This deep breathing worked its way into my life in many different ways.
I would take those deep breaths and count them with my hand and I would slip into this deep breathing calm. I would feel the benefits from it right away. I started to apply the power of the 5 breaths throughout each day. It became my normal state over time. Not that my breath wouldn’t change or my heartbeat wouldn’t jump, because I am human and I react to situations and environments that I am in, but now I am able to cope when these natural reactions happened. I see them happening and I jump into action.
Remember when I was talking about running and breathing? This became a major lesson in many ways when it came to noticing my breath and then slowing it down and feeling the benefits from doing so. Is there a more stressful situation then running? Your body, mind, and soul pushed to its limit. Your body is moving at a fast pace. You want to breathe fast and your heart starts pumping! I learned to breathe deep into these feelings and all of a sudden I was not stressed but relaxed and able to run long distance with out getting exhausted. I now had a transmission inside me like I mentioned before. This transmission was my breath.
I also started to practice any upcoming public speaking appearances while I ran. I found that a lot of the same reactions that I would have when I was standing up to speak were the same as when I ran. If I could breath deep and say my speech when I ran then I would be able to do so when I was standing in front of people! It was strange at times running and physically talking while I ran. I must have looked very funny to people passing by! But now I am able to stand up in front of large groups of people and speak feely and calmly without any problems at all.
Practicing the 5 deep breaths started to work itself into my every day life while I worked, while I drove my car, while I sat and talked, while I taught. Pretty much throughout my entire day I was breathing deep, paying attention to my breath and feeling amazing because of it.
I was spending more time loving my breath and because I was doing this, I was feeling good. I was calm and cool at all points of my life. If I was triggered then I would now notice it and then breath deep. I was able to see when things were happening and to jump into action and do it in a healthy and calm manner!
The key to achieving this is actually doing it. Being proactive and dedicating the time to it. You have no choice but to breathe so enjoy that time, drink it in, feel it and fall in love with your breath.
This blog is a chapter from "Managing Wellness" Creating and Maintaining a Mind, Body & Soul connection, be sure to check out the home page to order a copy of the whole book.