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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Family

More Breathing Space Tips for January

Time flies, but you can stay in control

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A week of the new year and of the new month has passed. What other Breathing Space tips will help give you a sense of control?

[ ] On each trip to the supermarket, shop for at least two food items that are new to you or your family.

[ ] Eat in-season fruits that are high in citrus and bioflavonoids, such as oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines. You need your Vitamin C in the winter! Also, take a multivitamin.

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[ ] Tackle all household repair jobs before spring. Handle one project per week.

[ ] If the roads are clear, take one new route from work each week.

[ ] Enroll in a course at your local college, and take advantage of mid-afternoon or evening time slots. Most evening classes are smaller, allowing for more class discussion and individual attention.

[ ] Take advantage of all the post-holiday bargains. Buy in bulk and buy off-season items when the price is right.

[ ] Go ahead and schedule that spa treatment you’ve been wanting to take.

[ ] Give your body a treat, go to sleep early at least one night per week.

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Faith

Three Cheers for Christian America

Thank you for safeguarding the public and private expressions of others

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Considering all the nations in the world and the dominating religions within those nations, Christianity is the most beneficial. When Christians are in the majority, it is good for everyone who resides there.

Christians during the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, and up to the mid-20th century contributed to much of the world’s turmoil. In recent decades, however, they have been the most accommodating, accepting, and peaceful group. I’m glad I live in a Christian nation and, given the options globally, would not have it any other way.

Best of the Best

Particularly in America, Christians today are tolerant, acknowledging the rights of others. They recognize the right of Israel to exist. They fully embrace Israel’s strategic role in the Middle East.

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Too many people on the left who regard themselves as the arbiters of what is right and true, in minor and major ways have been persecuting Christians for decades. They do not want public displays of Christianity anywhere in America. Their agenda is to remove all vestiges of religion in America. They contend that America would be a better, more egalitarian nation.

Just the opposite is true. Those who want to stamp out religion in America don’t understand that our origins and 250-year history is based on Judeo-Christian principles. The cancel culture left seek to reject the U.S. Constitution out-of-hand.

We have encountered leftist groups who shatter statues and historic symbols they deem to be oppressive and part of an old regime that was illegitimate from the outset. Many of these perpetrators hide behind ski masks while regarding themselves as heroes. In reality, they are fascists, seeking to control us.

Leftist enforcers have no idea how intolerant they are and that they are no better than those they seek to diminish. In the U.S., people of all faiths are free to celebrate their faith. If one particular faith, Christianity, was predominant from inception, to today, that does not preclude other religious groups from celebrating.

Congress: Hands Off

Leftists make erroneous statements about the “separation of church and state.” The phrase simply is not contained in the Constitution or any founding document. It appeared in a letter that President Thomas Jefferson sent to a Baptist congregation in Danbury, Connecticut. His note to them was designed to reaffirm that the government would not make dictates related to the church.

The First Amendment to the Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” So, when it comes to religion, Congress must keep its hand off.

As a nonreligious person, I have nothing against seeing a religious display on public or private property. Indeed, America shorn of religious symbology would be a dismal place. The Ten Commandments on a public plaque? Fine. Christmas trees in the town square? Flip on the lights! A mosque being built in America? Why not?

As long as everyone is tolerant of other religions, such developments represent no threat to anyone. It is those who operate in secret who represent a threat, as are those who wish to vanquish the rights of others to publicly exhibit symbology.

The Option to Sing Along

When I attended grammar school, I was exposed to the annual Christmas pageant. I had the choice to skip the assembly. In each case, however, I chose to enjoy the merriment of the festivities, but not sing along. My young classmates did not require me to capitulate. Nor did I expect them to modify their festival to accommodate me. Would any aware American who moved to another country expect that country to diminish their celebrations to accommodate the newbie?

I’ve had the opportunity to visit 46 of the 50 states, and 73 countries. I have walked through hallowed halls of shrines, mosques, churches, and ashrams. While Christians are being persecuted in many countries around the world, I don’t know of a single instance today where people feel unsafe in a Christian majority country.

So, I say to you, if you are a Christian, in America, please know that large numbers of us support your right to practice your religion.

For All You Do

Thank you for safeguarding the public and private expressions of others. Thank you for helping to establish a climate where non-Christians and others can feel welcome. Thank you for becoming a peaceful, tolerant religion that rightfully serves as a model for others around the globe.

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