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Inextricably Linked: Your Breath and Your Life

No matter how hectic your day, you always have a few moments to take a deep breath

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Breathing is as essential to human life as food and water. While most people know this simple fact, few take time to think about the importance of the way they breathe.

Breathing is also important on a mental, spiritual, and emotional level. Proper breathing can be a means of achieving relaxation, balance, and peace in an increasingly hectic, over-anxious world. It goes hand-in-hand with mindfulness.

Deep Breathing

Deep, diaphragmatic breathing is an important stress reducer for everyone. The simplest metaphor that I can offer is this: Imagine that there is a balloon in your stomach. As you inhale, you fill up the balloon. As you exhale, you deflate the balloon. Inhale; exhale. In both cases, there’s no need to rush. The balloon can fill slowly, and empty slowly. Your chest and shoulders do not need to be a part of the process and it’s much better if they’re not. As you achieve deep diaphragmatic breaths, your chest and whole torso will move, but they are not actively involved in the process.

Another way to understand diaphragmatic breathing, especially if you haven’t been doing it, is to simply lie on the floor. Now, breath as you normally would, while placing one or both hands over your stomach, near your navel.

Do you feel that up and down motion? That’s it; you’re doing diaphragmatic breathing through your abdomen!

Why don’t you do this all the time? Other than when you’re lying down, if you are excited, tense, or in a hurry, it’s easy to slip into a nonproductive routine, raising your shoulders, expanding your chest, and letting these areas be the driving forces behind your breathing. If you’ve been engaged in vigorous athletic activity, you may resort to using your chest and upper torso in combination with your abdomen to gain more oxygen into your lungs faster. This is understandable. At a more normal heart rate, however, deep diaphragmatic breathing is best for all homo sapiens.

Fresh Air

Fresh air can help you achieve measurably lower levels of stress, oxygenate your tissues, improve circulation, increase alertness, diminish muscle tension, and reduce anxiety. If you live in an area where the air quality is poor you’re missing out.

Your best strategy may be to take frequent trips out of town, away from traffic, and away from population centers. Scramble to the top of a small mountain where the air is clear and clean, but not necessarily thin. Or, take a walk in the woods, where trees and plants take in nitrogen and return oxygen to the atmosphere. Fresh air combined with a brisk walk is a powerful combination.

Getting Some Time to Breathe at Work

When you arrive at work in the morning, particularly if you’ve arrived before the rest of the office, you have the best opportunity for concentrating on your breathing. While doing so, you may or may not envision how you would like your day to go.

If you don’t work outside of the home, when everyone else has departed, give yourself a few minutes to undertake the same type of exercise. If you stay home with children or other household occupants, carving out a few minutes for yourself during the early morning is even more crucial.

At work, at home, and everywhere in between, take a few minutes before lunch, while seated, to relax, take some deep breaths, acknowledge yourself for what you’ve accomplished this morning, and contemplate how good it will be to eat lunch. Once you’re actually eating lunch, carefully and slowly chew your food.

Eat at a leisurely pace. How you eat your food is as vital as what you eat. Even if you’re eating high quality, highly nutritious food, if you wolf it down, you’ll gain few, if any, of the presumed benefits. By contrast, food not nearly so nutritious, consumed at a comfortable, unhurried pace can yield far more nutritional benefits.

Linger for a moment after lunch. No matter how hectic your day is otherwise, you always have a couple of extra minutes following lunch to give your digestive system a little bit more help, take some deep breaths, and maintain a relatively sane pace.

Pause daily for a few minutes. Perhaps the biggest obstacle to making life simpler is the unwillingness to allow it to occur. Many people simply do not give themselves permission to achieve a sense of balance, take a deep breath, and then proceed. Paradoxically, every single shred of wisdom on the issue indicates that everybody will be more effective each day, if they simply pause for a minute a couple of times each day. This could be done every morning and afternoon – coming back from the water cooler or rest room, before lunch, or returning from lunch.

Criss Cross

Years ago, when Maria Shriver was co-hosting one of the morning talk show in New York, she would fly in each week from her home in California and return at the end of the week. Criss-crossing the United States on nearly 100 trips per year is a considerable amount of travel, not to mention disruption. Shriver minimized the effects of thousands of miles in the air and maintained balance in her daily life.

Each Friday evening, when heading back to California, she took the same flight, from the same airport, on the same airline, leaving from the same gate, at the same hour. She even reserved the same seat. She often flew with the same pilots and same flight crew, and occasionally, the same passengers.

Rather than having the need to be physically back at her house or touching down at the Los Angeles International Airport before taking that metaphorical deep breath, she felt at home and relaxed when she boarded the plane. In essence, she minimized the effects of a rigorous schedule by transforming her seat in the sky into a welcomed sanctuary. She was home in that seat. You can achieve a similarly successful transition from work to home.

“Revving Down”

Career-climbing types who arrive home still mentally immersed in the affairs of the work day and revving at the pace of business might have difficulty relating to members of their family. You might need to let your internal engine “rev down” by taking a deep breath following work, before proceeding to interact with your family.

Doing something mentally or physically rewarding before dinner can also increase relaxation. If for only five minutes, sit in a chair and reflect on the day, and take deep breaths. This could make all the difference in having an enjoyable dinner and rest of the evening. Avoid flipping on the TV or radio, web surfing, or reading the newspaper or a magazine if these activities divert attention away from family.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Elections

Will You Take Action to Assure GOP Victory on November 5?

Every single person voting Republican needs to decide now, how they will lend support to the cause

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In less than 17 weeks, the GOP will take back the White House, and hopefully the Senate and House, and begin to restore America. Or, we’ll face a gargantuan nightmare that will all but seal the fate of this nation. Do not be fooled by Joe Biden’s defiance of those calling for him to withdraw. Any Democrat challenger will be a danger to us because the DEMOCRATS WILL CHEAT IN UNPRECEDENTED WAYS.

Time is of the essence. While being informed is wonderful, taking action is paramount. What exactly will you do to ensure that we achieve victory? It is no longer sufficient to be a concerned bystander.

No End to the Left’s Destruction

Every day when you log on to news sites, you are flabbergasted by the degree to which the radical Left continues to impose its civilization destroying policies, programs, and activities on the rest of us. There is no end game for the Left, no bottom, and no limits to their mass insanity.

Most recently, we have learned of a professional couple who was greeted at 6 a.m. by armed FBI agents banging on their door to arrest them for having the temerity of stepping into the Capitol on January 6, for 12 minutes, ushered in by Capitol guards. We have witnessed the unending persecution and prosecution of Donald Trump over non-crimes that have been concocted in unison and are part of an overall strategy emanating from the White House.

We have witnessed corrupt district attorneys, corrupt prosecutors, and a corrupt press. Donald Trump is merely the bellwether. All other Republican politicians will be fair game from here on out, and if we lose the election in November, with little or no recourse. One by one, the maniacal Left will quash dissent in ways that perhaps we currently cannot imagine.

The Left is Maniacal

The logical outcome to having the Left predominate in all areas of society is a totalitarian regime. Don’t discount this scenario. As Leftists ultimately do everywhere, they demand compliance. Thought control is their desired form of servitude. For those who do not comply, execution is not out of the question. Like radical Islam, we’re dealing with a malevolent genie that has escaped bottle, has no intention of ever subsiding, and wants everyone to either totally capitulate, or be imprisoned, deported, or terminated.

There will be no effective way to dismantle the maniacal leftist machine if Joe Biden is re-elected, he continues to be the puppet of Obama and far Leftists, and the border continues to be flooded with illegals — until Democrats have congressional representation that steadfastly insures a permanent majority. At that juncture, they will pack the Supreme Court. They will end the Electoral College. They will ramp up gender dysphoria opportunities wherever they might lie.

They will continue to show poor judgment and ridiculous weakness on the world stage. They will kowtow to China on a wide spectrum of issues. They will embolden our enemies to the point where such enemies are ready to pick apart America. This is not hyperbole and is all too likely.

Nothing here is beyond the bounds of possibility and with each passing week becomes more likely for the distant if not foreseeable future. In a sentence, we simply must win in November. No alternative will suffice.

All of Us

All of which leads to the point that every single person voting Republican needs to decide now, how they will lend support to the cause. In what ways will you participate? How will you volunteer, where, when and for what duration? Will you donate money? Who will you influence to vote GOP?

How will you support your candidates locally, regionally, and nationally? How are you going to impact others? It would not be sufficient to say, “I was busy,” or “I felt we had an overwhelming majority.” This approach is gambling with the future of our nation, the future of our communities, and the future of our families.

If we are to win by an overwhelming majority, let us each assure one another that we did everything we could to make sure that that is the result. To do less is to simply take a child-like approach to what is perhaps the most eventful year since 1776, 1812, 1861, 1941, 1968, and 2001. There will be no palatable tomorrow if we lose in November.

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Education

Putting North Carolina Public Education Back on Track  

With Michelle Morrow’s leadership, North Carolina public schools can be better equipped to educate and inspire today’s students.

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It’s no secret to conservatives that the nation’s children, every single one of them, are at risk. In the main, not for reasons malnutrition, growing up in a tough neighborhood, or having toxic parents. The risk that all kids face today is the potential to be indoctrinated in public schools by their own teachers, teacher’s aides, and administrators.

America’s Children Are under Siege

Some school districts in America, are populated by boards of education, principals, and school administrators who think it is their sacred duty to indoctrinate children, exposing them to all manner of adult and sex-related topics long before any child should be. As such, they usurp the rights of parents and guardians.

Nowhere is this more evident than in North Carolina where 23% of all kindergarten through 12th-grade students are enrolled in either a charter school or private school, or study at home, and the percentage increase in these three options is 84% over the last 11 years. Why? Parents want to determine the best educational options for their own children and they don’t believe that North Carolina public schools are doing an adequate job.

Fortunately, one candidate running for NC superintendent of public instruction means to the state’s education programs back on track. Her name is Michelle Morrow, and she is a personal dynamo whose grasp on the issues is outstanding.

First and foremost, Morrow advocates having safe schools with a culture of academic achievement and civility. If it takes having a security guard in every single school throughout the state to ensure the safety of children attending class as well as teachers and school staff, Morrow is all for it.

She believes that schools should be the safest buildings in the state. Alas, they are not. In North Carolina, school crime and violence increased a whopping 84% in just the past five years. The top three crimes being reported include drug use, weapons possession, and assault – even assault of teachers.

An Advocate for What Counts

As the NC superintendent of public instruction, Morrow will support fair and effective policies that both deter crime and promote classroom civility. She’ll be a strong advocate for teachers’ rights to employ fair and reasonable measures to manage their classrooms as they see fit.

Morrow will insist on parent-friendly schools, recognizing that a child’s academic performance often hinges on the vital partnership between teachers and parents. In too many schools throughout the state, parents are kept completely in the dark about medical treatments and, surprisingly, even academic performance.

Some children are forced to take surveys requiring them to reveal details of their sexual habits and mental state, and schools employ such data to monitor, diagnose, and treat psychological issues. Parents alone, however, have the right to make medical decisions in relation to their children’s health and well-being. Government sponsored data collection needs to end. Morrow will enforce a Parents’ Bill of Rights to ensure that families are protected and that parents have dominion over their own children.

Back to the Basics

Academic achievement has suffered for years on end in North Carolina’s kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. A staggering one-quarter of eighth graders cannot meet national math, science, or reading standards. Test scores throughout North Carolina reveal that more than 800 schools are under-performing.

As superintendent, Morrow will be focused on ensuring that all the money earmarked for education actually makes its way to the classroom. She will ensure that schools focus on teaching science, math, reading, and real history. She will advocate for small group tutoring when needed by students who are not performing well, and touting for those who are doing exceedingly well and can do even better.

Morrow recognizes that the government in Washington, D.C., has no business in the education of North Carolina students. Parents are not co-parenting with the federal government. The programs and policies that politicians and special interest groups attempt to impose on North Carolina schools must come to an end, and any interference in teaching core academics must cease immediately.

As such, Morrow will sever the ties with public interest groups while helping to strengthen local school districts’ ability to employ proven teaching methods, with the goal of enhancing core academic achievement.

The Big Picture

Morrow will seek to enhance national unity and patriotism. Too many students throughout North Carolina are subjected to one-sided history lessons that portray America as an oppressive, racist, unredeemable nation. Some schools go so far as to stereotype their students and inform them that, as a result of their ethnicity, sexuality, or religion, they are oppressors.

This one-sided, warped view of humanity and method of education must end. Instead of dividing students, Morrow will seek to foster unity and understanding. America is an exceptional country. While every country faces challenges, ours in particular has been fair, compassionate, and forward thinking in recent years.

With Morrow’s leadership, North Carolina schools can be better equipped to educate and inspire the next generation who will become the leaders of our great nation.

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