Conscious breathing

I literally put my pants on backward today. It was an instant reminder to slow down and live in the present moment–to be mindful. Why did I do this? I wasn’t in a rush-it was a leisurely morning. It’s really easy to live and work on auto-pilot, even when we have all the time in the world.

This is why meditation is so important. Meditating in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. If I meditate in the morning, I’m much more likely to practice conscious breathing throughout the day. I can respond out of fear at times, but I found that if in these moments, I tell myself that the only thing that matters is my breathing, I have a much easier time letting go and regaining my calm.

A beach sunset on Jeju Island, South Korea with the words Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor. Thich Nhat Hanh, in the foreground

Beach in Jeju Island, South Korea

Then there’s meditating at night. This helps me let go of what has transpired in the past and calms my mind. Most nights, I start by calmly reviewing my day. I try not to attach any emotion to the events. Things that were ‘good’ before are now just things that happened–not something that made me feel a particular way. This also applies to things that were ‘bad.’ After doing that, I tell myself that I am going to breathe in deeply and exhale slowly. While I exhale, I will let go of the past day (sometimes week, month, year(s)). (I also add that I will be able to remember events if I need to, but they will not have any effect on me) It’s a simple, yet effective way for me to relieve stress and prepare myself to slip off to sleep.

Speaking of sleep–it’s time to call it a night.


(Bryan Helfrich, Meditate opElevate, CC BY-SA 3.o)



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