Life, there’s no beating it. We all have our stressors, anxieties, and worries. There are deadlines, tests, and appointments that suck the life out of everything we do. However, there is a way to bring ourselves back in tune with the moments we’re living, rather than letting time pass us by.
I don’t have a big secret, or know of the next big craze. But I do, however, know this; the one thing keeping all of us alive has not only kept me alive, it’s allowing me to thrive.
It’s no secret that I am a big advocate of counseling. I visit with my counselor once a week to work through any struggles, big or small, that may arise. I consistently get one piece of advice from her each time we sit down. She’ll calmly suggest, “How about we work on breathing?” She will tell me to close my eyes, and picture a place that feels safe and calm. She’ll tell me to breathe in slowly, as she counts upwards. Then, she tells me to hold my breath for a few counts. As I slowly exhale to her count, I slowly feel all of my worries fall away.
Go ahead and try it. Breathe in slowly for eight seconds, hold it for four, and exhale for eight seconds. Keep doing it for as long as it takes. Each time your mind wanders, gently remind yourself to be in the moment.
It’s not a race to the finish line, nor a battle.
Life isn’t a competition.
Your mind and your body are constantly in communication with each other taking subtle, unconscious hints from one another. If your breathing is calm, your mind will follow. Sometimes it may feel like we have no control over our thoughts or emotions thanks to PMS or anxiety. If we focus on calming our breathing, our mind will take note and realize there must be no threat. Therefore, our mind calms down and is able to relax.
I never thought I’d be where I am today – in any aspect. Whether that’s my family, my love life, or my career. In the last four years I have learned more about how to live the best life I can than I ever learned in school. Four years ago, my family was rocked pretty hard by mental illnesses. Fast forward four years, we are still working through everything, but I have lived to tell the tale. Thanks to this simple trick, I have breathed my way through some of the toughest times I have faced.
I am in no way a psychologist, heck, I haven’t even graduated with my bachelor’s degree. What I have done, is worked tirelessly everyday to improve myself, and you can too. We all have our story. We may not be able to change the chapters that have already been written, but we can always choose what path comes next. Remember, just breathe.