It might sound obvious that we need to breathe. Of course we do. We can't exist without it. In face we hardly even notice our breathing. Our brain and body just do it for us in order to sustain our very existence.
There's a lot more to breathing than we might think though. Perhaps we are aware of our breathing. At times of physical exertion, when we run for that train or actively engage in some form of exercise. We notice how long it takes for us to get a bit puffed and then to regain our breath again. We might be more aware of our breathing if we suffer from asthma or are smokers. Times when breathing is a bit tough. We might notice it at the doctors when we are asked to take deep breaths.
It's not just physical exertion that affects our breathing though. We may or may not be aware of it but our emotional temperature and stress levels affect our breathing too. We might be breathing more shallowly when stressed. We might become aware of our breathing when feeling panicked perhaps. We might even experience panic attacks where we feel like we cannot breathe. This may be accompanied by other physical signs, like sweaty hands, racing heart, tightness in the chest, sick feeling in the stomach. We might even notice those signs first. Breathing is not something we think about that much.
If we become more aware of our breathing we can take better care of ourselves, both physically and emotionally. Taking the time to notice our breathing and reflecting on how deep or shallow our breathing is will be a good start. We can then slow ourselves down, take some deeper breaths, feeling our lungs fill and then exhale. This focus will help to still our mind, help our body to relax and give us a greater sense of control over our day. We can do this anywhere. It's a great way to get back to basics, to our core essence, and not be distracted by everything that's going on around us.
We may take our breathing for granted but we can learn more about ourselves and how our bodies work by noticing our breathing. This will help us value and appreciate the way our body supports us every day to get through the day. Given its importance we really shouldn't ignore it.