Inextricably Linked: Your Breath and Your Life ⋆ Politicrossing
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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.

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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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Business

Justice, not ‘Social’ Justice, Improves Society

If we ignore existing laws simply in favor of what we want, society will soon break down

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Thomas Jefferson wrote that, “The most sacred of the duties of government is to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.” The hallowed duty to fulfill the promise of justice for all remains, or ideally should remain, as the guiding ideal for the people we elect to government.

A friend of mine recently commented that the ‘social’ justice movement in America is alive and well, and that great things have been happening. However, when you put any word in front of the word ‘justice,’ the true meaning of justice is altered. Social justice is some group’s attempt at righting what they consider to be wrong.

I asked my friend for an example of social justice and was told that power lines being installed near poor neighborhoods instead of wealthier neighborhoods was a prime example. I then explained that that was not an issue related to ‘social’ justice but to justice itself.

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Express Lanes for Redress

This is not 1860, or 1960. Today, many avenues exist for illuminating any issue of merit. Locally, there are zoning boards in every municipality, city councils usually with members on the left and the right, town hall meetings, public forums, newspapers, local television stations – a variety of entities that can be brought to bear to examine an issue and to forge some type of equitable redress if needed.

To be sure, no form of political government is anywhere near perfect or even equitable, much of the time. Democracy is difficult, but all other forms of government are worse.

In a democracy, or representative republic, such as we have in the U.S., you can’t go off half-cocked and do exactly what you want because you think that a particular law is bad. You have to work to change the law, to change policies, to address inequities within the framework of democracy, and within the bound of the justice system.

A Sanctuary for Whom?

Consider the phenomenon of sanctuary cities. For a sanctuary city to exist, one has to have a mayor, an alderman, city council members,  and other committee members, including those whose were elected as well as as appointed, to believe that what they’re espousing is right, while ignoring what has been passed into law. This ruling class thus usurps that which a majority of citizens rely upon each day.

A sanctuary city, by definition, is a city that is breaking the law. The Left will rationalize that ‘social’ justice requires breaking the law and that not all laws are good laws. True: not all laws are good laws. Laws, nevertheless, were passed as a result of a process in place for tens if not hundreds of years.

If laws routinely discriminate against one segment of the population versus another, then by all means work to change the law. When you insert catchphrases into the mix, such as ‘social’ justice, what that actually means is that you have another viewpoint of an issue. Further, you deem that your view and your actions are more meritorious than whatever came before them.

Vigilantism isn’t Pretty

Years ago, by exhibiting such behavior, you would be called a vigilante. Vigilantes are a self-appointed group who engage in policy enforcement without having legal authority, usually because they deem the legal agencies to be inadequate.

We dwell in a society where the media is distinctly liberal, and even leftist – as we have witnessed with big tech, the big TV networks, nearly all newspapers, and, unfortunately, a variety of government agencies. Thus, those advocating for ‘social’ justice have the wind at their backs. Yet, they violate the rights, and votes, of half the population and perhaps much more.

Welcome to My Two Cents

Any one of us could offer a long list of social issues that we’d like to change. If we decide, willy-nilly, to start ignoring existing laws in favor of what we want, how long will it take before society breaks down completely? Taking the law into your own hands is the essence of what it means to be a vigilante. Vigilante-dominated societies are not healthy. Many of their residents live in constant fear.

Taking the law into your own hands is an ill-advised shortcut to seeking what you want without working through the system, however imperfect the system might be. This country, any country, does not need more vigilantism.

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Faith

Christians MUST Take the Lead in Saving America

Pray, lead, stand, and share.

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PolitiCrossing Founder Chris Widener shares what every Christian must do, starting today, to save America. It is all hands on deck. We live in a tremendous time of opportunity. The world is collapsing around us and God wants to save America. Will we walk with God and see revival? Check out this short video challenging Christians to lead, and exactly how to do so.

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