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Here is the Well-Being Practice we recommend you try on for this week of the Challenge. To learn more about the intention behind the Well-Being Practices and how you can choose your own each week, read this article.
This Week, Take Some Time to Focus on Breathing
- Each day, sit, close your eyes, and spend 10 minutes with one of the following breathing practices:
- Counting your breaths up to 10 and starting over again.
- As calmly as you can, breathe fully in, fully out, and pause briefly before the next breath.
- Box breathing: breathe in for a count of 3, hold for 3, breathe out for 3, and pause for 3 before beginning again.
Watch this video for an explanation of this Well-Being Practice from Whole Life Challenge co-founders Andy Petranek and Michael Stanwyck.
Why Is This Practice Important?
Can you recall a time when something got you really scared or upset? One of the things you may recall from that moment is that the quality of your breath changed. To recover your calm, you may have told yourself (or had someone tell you), “Just breathe.” Simply taking control of your breathing may have restored both your physical and your mental state.
Your breathing can have both positive and negative impacts on our life in powerful ways. As a result of the stresses in our modern world, many of us tend to have shallow, chest-centered breaths, a pattern typically associated in research and in our own personal experience with fear, anger, and other negative emotions.
Believe it or not, that current runs both ways — emotions can cause breathing patterns and particular breathing patterns can cause particular emotions to manifest. Focusing your attention on establishing calm, belly-centered breathing gives you the ability to instill a pattern that can literally move fear and sadness out, as well as elicit joy.
But you don’t have to wait until you’re upset to practice breathing. Spending a few minutes with your breath can increase your normal level of calm and awareness any time you like. And, yes, it can also do wonders when you are upset to change your breathing before you speak or respond to the others involved.
Taking a greater degree of control and establishing awareness in how you breathe is a practical, potent tool in creating deep physical and emotional well-being.
For More on This Practice
Patrick McKeown is the author of seven books and the Director of Education and Training at the Buteyko Clinic International. According to Patrick , the derangement of our breathing process is at the root of many of the ills and ailments that are common today. Listen to this podcast, to hear more from Patrick and learn the amazing breathing techniques he teaches.