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While the act of conscious breathing may sound simple, it is actually much harder than you think- otherwise, we’d all be doing it all the time! However, the hardest hurdle is getting in the habit of it, and once you do, you will thank me.

We breathe every second of every day in every year that we are alive. But how many of us are truly breathing? I mean, I know you breathe to live, but have you ever just took a moment to reflect on the act of breathing itself?

From the perspective of someone who struggles with anxiety, depression, and a number of other mental blocks, the art of conscious breathing basically saved my life. I had gotten to the point in which I was seriously contemplating suicide, due to the fact that I had lost my will to do anything other than just survive.

Somehow or another, a friend had a book open on their table when I had finally drug myself out of the bed, after being in it for the past few days. I gazed at the chapter that said something about conscious breathing, and how it can change your way of life.

I giggled to myself cynically, and read it. I truly wish I remembered what book it was, but regardless of that, I felt like this was something we could all benefit from.

And there are countless stories just like mine that say conscious breathing changed them some way, whether it improved their mental health, improved their physical health, or allowed them to flourish in some aspect of their life.

Dr. Belisa Varnish explains, “Breath has been ignored by the general public,” and she would know, because she currently reached breathing techniques to firemen, policeman, and soldiers who deal with immense stress on a daily basis. Continuing, she explains,

“Pulmonologists have been looking at severe dysfunction. Yogis have been looking at pranayama. But no one has been thinking of the average person like you and me. People are realizing that they’ve been completed neglected.”

Conscious Breathing (the website), says that the following are symptoms of poor breathing habits:  

Clearing your throat ever so often (throat-clearing is a form of breathing)

Sighs frequently (before we sigh we take a big breath)

Holding your breath while you concentrate

Talk fast (which also means that you breathe fast)

Take big breaths before you are about to say something

Keep your mouth open while you exercise and do other types of physical activity

Breathe fast and shallow when you are stressed

Snoring when you sleep (snoring is a form of breathing)

Take a moment, when you are stressed or upset, or having a bad moment, and focus yourself back too your breathing. Simply be conscious of your breath, straighten your posture, breath rhythmically, and quietly. Feel your breaths grow larger, and draw them in longer, and exhale.

To take this farther, sit in meditation for 5 minutes a day, for only 3 days. Spend the time only focusing on your breath. Whenever your attention begins to pull away, redirect it. The thing about meditation is, you are going to have rampant thoughts, and that is okay. What makes it work, is you noticing it, and redirecting it.

While at first you may stress over it, bring yourself back to center, and eventually, you are going to enjoy the act of conscious breathing. To be hones with you, the moments that I am breathing this way and actively making myself breathe better; those are the moments in which I realize how beautiful life truly is, and how easy it is to take it for granted.

That is why I continue, and that is why it saved my life, and it could save yours too!