The How Usually Matters More Than the What

Last Friday was one of those tragic days when absolutely everything went wrong. Or, more accurately, everything everyone did was wrong. I was up to my eyeballs in jackassery in which everyone seemed to be abandoning common sense and I could. not. escape. it.


I could feel the noose-like frustration tightening around my neck, slowing the flow of oxygen and blood to my brain as I vacillated between yelling and laughing maniacally. Thankfully, my own common sense managed to make its way through my constricted nervous system, sending up a loud S.O.S. to “BREATHE!”.


We’ve all been there … the jackassery hits the fan and some well meaning person’s brilliant solution is for you to “breathe”. But, what good does breathing do if you’re already wound up, on the warpath, practically daring someone – ANYONE – to give you a reason to punch them?


Not much.

Odds are, in that state, you’ll just breathe with the same intense rage. And, while that may oxygenate your blood, it won’t do a damn thing to calm down your central nervous system {CNS}. {Which is what will keep you out of jail and the ER.}


Neutralizing DEFCON 1 level of jackassery requires focusing on the way you’re breathing more than the breathing, itself.


Think about it …

If your breathing resembles a bull’s snort just before charging the matador, how does that impact your muscles?

Is this your angry face?

 Is this your angry face?


You need to experience a slow, fluid breath so your muscles and CNS can r-e-l-a-x.


But how?

Have you ever seen a manta ray swimming in the ocean?

If you’ve never seen their fins propel them with grace and ease, check out the video below. {Hit the mute button so you can focus on their movement.}



Now, try this-

Wrap your hands around the bottom of your ribs.

Inhale and exhale.

Can you feel your ribs moving? {They’re expanding on your inhale and contracting on your exhale.}

Continue to inhale and exhale…

Imagine your ribs expanding and contracting just like the manta ray’s fins.

Continue to inhale and exhale…

Imagine what it feels like to swim underwater… bubbles of air rolling and gliding off your skin.

Remember how buoyant you feel in water?

Imagine your ribs being pliable like the ray’s fins as they move out and in smoothly, easily… their movement is continuous, without beginning or end… feeling light and buoyant, feeling your neck and shoulder muscles slowly release their grip and your breathing becomes effortless.

Continue to inhale and exhale…

Imagine a wave of groovy contentment {or clear-headed reasoning} washing down over your head and shoulders as you relinquish any negative feelings and gradually embrace a calmer state of being.


Share Your Insights.

Did you notice a difference between focusing on the way you’re breathing versus simply breathing? What changed for you?

Research shows we learn best with and from our peers, so please share in the comments below. {Plus, I love hearing from you!}



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