When my kiddos get sad, angry, hurt, or frustrated, the very first thing I tell them to do is to stop and take a breath. Slow and steady. In through the nose then out through the mouth. This calming practice doesn’t just work for tearful kiddos. From women in labour to that breath you take in a meeting to stop you from saying the wrong (angry) thing, we have been using breathing to regulate emotions and sensations probably for all time.
One of the books I want to read this year is Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor. I remember Kendra Adachi of Lazy Genius fame mentioning this as part of her desire to pay attention to what the body needs and it doesn’t get more fundamental than breathing.
It is also worth noting that breathing has become something of a point of anxiety as we near the second anniversary of the global pandemic which makes taking a breath a risky business. With masks being a necessary but restricting part of life, I suppose it makes me realise how important it is for us to be able to breathe freely, something I had previously taken totally for granted.
My watch has lots of fancy features but one of them is to remind me throughout the day to take a breath. I appreciate this reminder. It might sound odd that I need to be reminded of doing something that all us living creatures with lungs do but there is taking a breath and there is Taking a Breath. I particularly need all the calming strategies available to me as we head back into a new term.