The Joy of Breathing — boy with a hat

You can breathe your way out of most problems. You can breathe your way to peace. It’s so simple.

Every day we breathe because we need to. We do it without even realizing. Our lungs fill up with air that goes on to oxygenate our blood and refresh our whole body.

Waiting in line at the supermarket… Breathe in, breathe out.

Sometimes we get a cough or a sore throat, or our tonsils swell, and we’re reminded just how wonderful it is to be able to breathe easily.

Waiting for an appointment with the doctor… Breathe in, breathe out.

Bad things happen to us sometimes. We get sick, we suffer. We lose our patience and get angry. We are confused – we don’t know what’s the right thing to do. We can cry and scream, or we can breathe.

Calling someone who isn’t answering… Breathe in, breathe out.

We may become a victim of chance. A disease, an accident, loss. We start feeling sorry for ourselves. Why me? It’s so unfair… But we don’t have to become a victim. Just let things be and not resist what has already happened. It’s healthier. It helps us recover more quickly. It enables us to spend our energy on better things.

Reading, writing, or listening to music… Breathe, don’t forget to breathe.

Find a quiet place, lie down if you have to, and breathe. When your mind tries to remind you just how awful everything is, hold on to your breathing. Don’t try to think your way out of your problem or sadness — you’ll only get stuck more deeply into it. Don’t think of anything, not even of solutions. Only follow your breathing. If you fall asleep, it will do your body good.

Showering or bathing… Breathe as you wash yourself. Breathe in, breathe out.

Studies have found that meditating can increase our tolerance to pain. Not just emotional pain, but physical pain. Breathing is how meditation begins. Breathing consciously is like a bandage fit for any wound. You return to your breathing, to the warm nest in your chest, and you stay there.

Walking, running, driving, or traveling… Take your breathing with you. Breathe.

You don’t oppose the thoughts in your mind, but you don’t feed them fear and worry, either – you let them come and go, just as your days, just as the people around you, just as your life.

Our life is as light as our breathing. Let’s not forget that lightness. Let’s remember it each time we breathe.

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