Saturday, September 21, 2013

Breathe In. Breathe Out.

Do you ever feel so overwhelmed that you literally forget to breathe?

When things are getting crazy, taking a moment away to focus on your breath is essential. It may often seem like it’s the last thing you actually have time to do, but a mini-break for a few deep breaths can make a huge difference in your sense of well-being.

Here’s why:
  • A few deep breaths can relax your body and release tension. I don’t know about you, but my jaw clenches really tight when I’m stressed!
  • A few deep breaths can bring calm to your mind. It’s amazing how being away from your inbox for a few short minutes can help ease your worries.
  • A few deep breaths can give you clarity and new solutions. Changing your geography can do wonders for inspiring new ideas and de-cluttering the brain.
  • A few deep breaths can make you feel a sense of control. You suddenly become aware of the fact that you ARE indeed the one breathing in and out. You don’t have to rely on anyone else for this!
  • A few deep breaths can remind you that, at the end of the day, breath brings you life. You would literally die without it…
I write this today because I have been having a particularly high paced past couple of weeks. I, as I’m sure you can relate, have been bombarded with emails, phone calls and a list of things to do that seems to have two new additions each time I cross something off. I’ve been going non-stop, darting back and forth and I haven’t been taking a break. Why? Because there’s a little voice inside that tells me there’s too much to do!  It says: 
“How in the world could you take 10 minutes out to focus on your breathing”?

Well, last night I hit a wall. My ability to be focused was completely lost. I was responding to 10 different emails all at once. My thoughts were ping ponging through my mind (and outloud) and I was annoying myself (and my girlfriend, Kristin, too). Every creative bone in my body had magically disappeared. I just knew that I needed to give myself a time out to breathe, but I couldn’t be disciplined enough with myself to create the space to actually do it.

This is when I decided to pull out my journal and try a new “breathing” technique. I started by writing the words: Breathe in. When I wrote, I took a giant full inhale the entire time. Next I wrote the words: Breathe out. The second the pen hit the paper, I began an exhale that didn’t stop until the period was complete at the end. I repeated this exercise of writing the words, “Breathe in. Breathe out” until two entire journal pages were penned with the reminder.

I’ll admit, just like in my meditation practices, I went on a few super random tangents inside my own mind. I started to tell myself stories as the ink flowed, but each time I went off into never-never-land, I quickly brought my focus back to the paper and the pen.

It was rewarding to see the progress and to feel lost within the words. It was fulfilling to complete a line or page and to feel a refreshing sense of accomplishment from something so darn simple. It was an exercise that took just 10 minutes, but it left me feeling more relaxed and attentive than when I started.  

I highly recommend that the next time you’re drowning in the sea of ‘overwhelmed’, pull out a piece of paper and a pen and try this exercise. It may be the little escape your body and mind are craving. 


If you liked this, I suggest you head over to for some more inspiration!


Layla said...

You always inspire me to stay active and to be a better person.

Kyle Shewfelt said...

Thanks Layla. I appreciate your kind words. Sorry for the delayed comment. I have been very busy with my new gymnastics centre and haven't been checking my blog.