Observe the Breath is a widely practiced form of Mindfulness. Focusing attention on the breath can help us feel calm, grounded and connected with ourselves and the world. Breathing slowly and deeply has many positive effects on the mind and the body.
For example, it can reduce fear, anxiety and pain as well as increase our ability to focus attention and concentrate. Deep breathing does this by activating the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible or calming effects in the body.
When we are born, we breathe abdominally. This means that we breathe all the way down into the very bottom of our lungs, causing our belly to gently rise and fall with each breath. Have you ever watched an infant sleeping? Utterly peaceful!
As we get older, we begin to rush around and, naturally, begin to breathe more shallowly. This makes things harder on our body because shallow breathing is not efficient. Furthermore, when we breathe high up in our chest, we lose the natural calming effect that comes with slow, deep breathing.
In order to live our lives fully, it is essential to avoid living in the past or in the future. Observe the Breath is a powerful strategy for keeping our mind completely and wholeheartedly in the present moment. Although it sounds quite simple to do, this strategy requires practice, practice, practice. I know you will find the benefits well worth the effort!
I’ve included a practice here for exploring Observe the Breath. I hope you enjoy it. If you’d like to learn more about using the breath to create a sense of calm, please contact me.