Don’t Forget to Breathe

Breathe. A notification I often get on my Apple Watch lately. These past few weeks, I started reflecting on why this kept happening. I love listing and planning. I always have endless lists that I write down or in my head. I continuously work to get better or make new challenges for myself each day. I am driven and passionate. It can burn me out pretty quickly if I let it. 

I got to remember to breathe, breathing, and being aware of my breath helps me acknowledge there is always time to slow down and chill. I know in my culture, it is instilled in us to work hard, have no days off, and keep grinding. But that can affect your mental health. Sometimes you need to be still. 

Resting is important. Relaxing your mind helps you reconnect with your thoughts. This week, I am dedicated to pressing the “Reset” button in my mind. I am reminding myself how much meditation is essential to my daily life. Suffering from anxiety, I can be in my head A LOT. And meditation makes me get out of that headspace and breathe. 

Each day this week, I have done different breathing exercises to help me remember to breathe. They have helped me reduce stress levels, lower my heart rate, lower my blood pressure, improve my mood, regulate my body’s reaction to stress and fatigue, a mitigate my feelings of burnout. Here are some of the breathing exercises I am trying: 

Mindful breathing. You are aware of your breathing and are focusing on it. You do not change your breathing. You stay focused on how you breathe. 

Mantra breathing. This type of breathing is where you focus on your breath and a word or phrase that helps you slow your mind down. 

Belly breathing. I love this type of breathing because you can do this in bed before waking up or going to bed. You lie down on the bed or floor, placing your hands on your stomach. As you inhale and exhale slowly, you can feel your stomach rise and fall.  
Square breathing. It uses visualization to help you focus. As you inhale, you visualize drawing one side of the square. Then exhale while visualizing the next side of the square, and keep repeating until you finish making multiple squares.

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