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July 5, 2020

Stress-Busting 101—Break the Cycle with One Essential Lifeline.

2020 has been a real humdinger.

We are collectively stressed out. Uncertainty is the rule of the day. Mercurial quicksand appears to meet our every step. It’s hard to find solid ground. Stability is shifting beneath right our feet. Old models are crumbling.

We need steadiness right at the time it is most elusive.

Some are sick, others are tired. Some are just sick and tired of the incessant media noise. It’s taking a toll. The rent is due and bills are piling up. Our work has changed and school is not the same. We miss sports, and holiday parties are on pause. WTF! How are we supposed to hold it all together?

We need space, we need centering. But how?

Sorry, type As, your cunning smarts won’t help here. Nor will hyper-productivity. Trust me, it takes one to know one. I’ve been there and done that. We tend to operate from our automatic habits, based on past experiences. Or, we act out of anxiety, based on our fear of the future. Neither is the answer.

We have to find a way to meet the moment. And here’s how:

Breath is the key.

You will find that breath happens in the moment. It’s the only place for it. We cannot breathe in the past. Breath won’t work in the future. We simply must settle on the moment as the very place for all breathing to occur.

Breathing is our lifeline, literally.

When we are born, we begin breathing and the body autonomically takes over the process for the entirety of our lives. At the end of our hopefully long and happy lives, we stop breathing, and that is the end of the show for this body here on Earth. Physiologically, it is that important.

If we do not breathe, we do not live.

While I really love food, I can fast for a few days or more, and still live well. Water is critical, but even that I can last a day or two in the desert without, and still survive. Breath is different. Even the best ocean divers and most advanced yogis can only go for a few minutes without doing it.

Lucky for us, we can control our breath. Yogis call it pranayama.

Prana translates as life-force energy and yama is retention. So, pranayama roughly equals the conscious control of the life-force energy. These activities range from simple to much more complex. And, they work. They clear the mind and fuel the organs with the oxygenation we need to thrive in our bodies. Our brain, particularly, really loves it!

Breathing consciously reduces stress and induces clarity. And, who among us couldn’t use a little clarity right now?

The first step on this path is noticing. Simply notice the breath. It makes us conscious of what was unconscious. Type As, this is where that sharp brain of yours comes in. Use it to notice your breath. Now!

Once we notice our breath, we can measure it. And if we can measure it, we can change it. Seems to me like something steady we can all take stock of. Breathing exists. It is happening right now, inside of you. And it is inside, that we all must look, to find the certainty we are seeking.

One step a time, we can do this.

~

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Evan Todd  |  Contribution: 330

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