Two months ago, I realized I had erratic breathing patterns. This is something I have struggled with my whole life, but it has gotten worse in the last couple of years.
So in April, I began practicing intentional breathing exercises every day, three times a day.
My breathing exercises are really simple. I just breathe slowly and deeply in and out of my nose ten times, three times a day. Sometimes I do it while I am sitting; sometimes I do it when I am lying down (like when I am first waking up or going to bed).
The first month I began practicing my breathing exercises, I saw immediate and significant benefits. You can read more about this here.
My favorite changes were that my muscles immediately felt stronger; I could walk up the stairs without getting winded; and I stopped snoring.
I have continued my breathing exercises in May and June, and even more cool things have happened. Here are three of them.
First: I have been having fewer anxiety attacks.
I have struggled with anxiety all of my life, and both good or bad stress can cause anxiety attacks.
On the one hand, my anxiety attacks are pretty minor on the anxiety attack scale. I don’t get dizzy. My heart doesn’t race. I don’t get sick to my stomach or throw up.
Instead, I get overstimulated, and I feel like something bad is going to happen. I become really heat, light, and noise sensitive, and I have to hang out in a quiet, shady place to de-escalate for a while. Sometimes I also have problems catching my breath.
What I noticed in May and June is that even thought I still have anxiety, I have had fewer anxiety attacks, and I am certain that it is my breathing exercises that have helped me.
As I have practiced breathing, I have become more aware of my body, and I have noticed when I am about to have an attack. I am able to respond early on with gentleness and soothing behaviors like affirmations, resting, and engaging in peaceful activities like watercolor painting.
This de-escalates my anxiety before it kicks into high gear.
Second: I have turned into a magical walking enthusiast.
I have always enjoyed walking and exercise, but in the past, I have really struggled to exercise for long periods of time.
I always told myself that this was because I wasn’t very athletic or that I wasn’t a long-distance athlete.
Well, this month this has all started to change.
In May, I I began walking a mile or two, which is pretty typical for me. And then one day, I decided I would walk four miles. So I did.
And that felt really good. I was so enthusiastic about walking, I decided I would walk six miles a few days later. So I did.
And that felt really good. And then all of a sudden yesterday, I walked eight miles.
This is the longest I have ever walked before, and I felt so proud of myself. I think I will start running soon.
I have also realized that in this process, I have become more heat and light tolerant, and I have been spending a lot of time outdoors each day, which has also been really good for my mood.
Third: I feel more grounded and have more confidence.
The more I practice deep breathing, the more grounded, present with myself, and internally and externally strong I feel. These feelings of strength have made me feel more confident about taking on various challenges.
Throughout my life, I have often struggled with an all-or-nothing mentality–either I am good at something or I am not. My experience with breathing has reminded me that our life can change dramatically for the better when we practice loving habits a little bit each day.
So, it is not the case, for instance, that I am not good at walking or that I am not good at managing stress. What is actually the case is that I have natural abilities to walk and manage stress, and the more I support myself through loving habits like deep breathing, the more I strengthen these natural abilities I have.
Healing Belongs to Us
One of the biggest realizations I have had these last couple of months is that healing belongs to us.
Life can be really hard and stressful, and all of us develop emotional and mental wounds that need healing because of things we experience.
Just like our body wants to heal physically, our emotions and mind want to heal, too. Deep Breathing has been a profoundly healing practice for my emotions, mind, and body.
Lately, I have been asking my mind, body, and emotions, “What do you need? How can I show love to you?” and I have been taking time to listen.
My mind, body, and emotions have been telling me things like, “I need to stop working for a while and play”, “I need to eat more salad”, “I need ice cream”, or “I need to ask for help.”
I feel like like I am still not always the best at listening to myself, but I am getting better, and the more I listen, the more healing I experience. And that makes sense because healing belongs to me. It belongs to you, too.
Invitation: If you would like, please practice breathing with me this month. You can practice like I do–take ten, deep breaths in and out your nose, three times a day. Or, you might have your own breathing practice that makes sense to you. I would love to hear the benefits you experience.
Question: What physical, emotional, and mental practices have brought healing to your life lately?
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You can read about month three of my breathing practice here:
Month Three of Beautiful Breathing
This post describes the beginning of my breathing practice:
I Practiced Deep Breathing Every Day for a Month, and Here are All the Cool Things That Happened
31 thoughts on “Month Two of Beautiful Breathing: More Cool Things Happen”
Excellent – wonderful to ‘read’ the effects in you; here, have another breath, it’s on me
Yay! So kind, M. Lewis. Please keep writing your poetry, Sir. I love it.
This makes my heart so happy. Meditation and yoga have been a huge help for me over the years. Walking with nature is truly magical. Spending time outdoors, just breathing and listening is so healing. I feel your positive energy and see a beautiful glow in your photographs. Magical things are happening for you dear friend! I wish we could walk together every day. Friendship and accountability are also very helpful. Sending big hugs your way!????
Roda, thank you so much for your sweet words and for reflecting my glow back to me. I feel so, so happy. I definition feel like I am going through a magical transformation. I wish we could walk every day, too! Oh, by the way, I am planning to set up the hammock you got me soon in my backyard. I am so excited. I will be sure to post pics.
Yippie!! Hammock time! Critters in hammocks! I can visualize your next painting series!?
I love that idea! It is already sparking my imagination. I have an idea I will start working on!
I can’t wait to see it!
Thank you for sharing part of your healing journey with us…I’ve been wanting to incorporate a daily breathing practice into my world and I think I will try yours!
Yay! I hope you do, Friend. I would love to hear what you experience as a result. Mine has helped me so much.
This is wonderful to hear. Roda is right, you are glowing. I find walking incredibly soothing and therapeutic. Just one foot in front of the other, when you need simplicity. And it makes me breathe deeply and relax my shoulders and open my chest, and feel part of the world.
That’s so nice, Ali! It is cool to hear that my friends think I am glowing, too. I definitely feel like I am. I can absolutely picture you walking and breathing beautifully in your garden.
Oh yay I am so happy you are noticing some amazing changes with this 🙂 Healing does indeed belong to you! For me, I’ve discovered physical exercise (especially hiking) has really been improving my mental health lately. There’s nothing like a nice walk on a mountain trail to clear my head and lungs. As the climbing and strenuous trails carve out my figure a little, it has also boosted my self confidence! 🙂
I love hearing about your hiking experience, M.B.! I am going to start going hiking, too. Perhaps history will find me, too, and I will find some lovely ruins like yours. I hope so.
History will definitely find anyone who is open to receiving it! I’m sure you will make great discoveries on the trails. Enjoy! Cant wait to hear about it
Breath is indeed very powerful …I like to say, if we take care of our breath, it works for us for this lifetime 🙂
I am really learning that,Taking care of my breath has been so liberating.
This is so amazing, I’m beyond happy for you. I want to try bringing more focus to my breathing and feel it could help me as well. I currently do it when I feel an attack coming on or something hurts in my body. In a way it helps me focus and calm down as if telling myself all will be ok. What if I could prevent the attack all together and strengthen my core, able to deal with the stresses of my situation!!! Plus I have really become heat intolerant and it makes me gasp for air with dizziness. Thank you so much for sharing this, I love it.
You are so welcome, M! I have become convinced that breathing is a foundational practice of self-care. I think when we get good, basic breathing practices incorporated into our lives, it has a positive snowball effect that helps us resolve a lot of other issues. So glad you found the post helpful.
I love it and I already know that you are right. I have started to be more conscious but the past few days were tough with stresses that distracted me a bit. But I’m aware and that is key. Xo
Inspired by your post back in April, I started deep breathing for counts of 10 here and there and found it very useful for nerves and anxiety. One notable example is that it helped relax my diaphragm and vocal cords during a gig. I sing in a small-time band and one night for our whole first set, my voice was pinched and shallow because I was nervous singing for a crowd of people I knew. During the break, I went to the restroom and breathed deeply, intently, looking in the mirror for part of it. During the next set, everything relaxed and opened up and I had a great night.
Reading your continued results gives me further inspiration. I have not been consistent with the deep breathing, but perhaps reminders on my phone will help. Or maybe a programmed “trigger”, such as when it’s time to change tasks or when I take my thrice-daily prenatal vitamins. (I’m newly pregnant and am having anxiety about that as well, not to mention my physical being is feeling all sorts of out-of-wack.)
Thank you again, as always, for your great posts. I’ll compile some more personal results and then, with your permission, link to your posts.
Angle Full of Grace! This makes me so happy that you saw these results with your singing. Please, do, feel free to compile results and link to my posts. I am so amazed at how this simple practice continues to help me heal different parts of my life. It is a gift I want everyone to have. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Friend. It is always good to hear from you.
that’s inspirational 🙂 thank you.
I never used to breathe through my nose at all, I almost had to teach myself how as an adult a few years ago. I mentioned to the doctor that I couldn’t breathe through my nose & he gave me a spray. Wow, I can breathe through my nose now 😉