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  • Writer's pictureEmily Breeden

Remember to Breathe…

Alright guys, 2020 has been… Heavy.  Overwhelming.  Stressful… Full of anxiety, fear, and confusion for many.

Have you paused yet to just… breathe? 

Up until 2015 when I started getting into yoga, I didn’t really ever pay attention to my breath.  Breathing was just automatic and something my body did, wasn’t it?  What more was there to think about?

What I started to realize after getting into yoga and learning how to connect to my body/breath was, not only had my breathing been “automatic,” but so was… everything else I did.  I went through the motions of life each day, and checked all the boxes, did everything I “should” do, but… I didn’t feel like I was in the driver’s seat.  My life felt automatic.  I was living on autopilot

Living on autopilot is when it feels like life is happening TO us, not FOR us.  We let ourselves get addicted to the dopamine hits from Netflix, YouTube, and sugar… and we fall into the trap of constantly checking the news and social media, and spiraling into negative thoughts.  We are reacting, rather than responding.  Suddenly, another night has passed by and we don’t know where the time went.

Nowadays, a lot of us are disconnected from our bodies, minds, & spirits – and from each other.  We are constantly ruminating over the past, or worrying about the future, letting our thoughts run the show and negatively impact our health.  We feel like our thoughts = reality.  Newsflash: Your thoughts are just stories in your head, assigning meaning to things… They are not reality. 🙂

If you feel like you’ve been living on autopilot, you are definitely not alone.  And if you want to start to get out of it or “wake up” to your life, there is no better time than now. ❤

It won’t happen overnight, but there are ways to start shifting your reality to a better place, and it happens through tiny changes.

The most effective way to get out of auto-pilot and living more consciously is to start meditating.  There are so many physical and emotional benefits, and I’ve felt them myself over the last 6+ months.  For me, meditating at least 10 minutes a day has helped me sleep better, become more self-aware (i.e. notice what my “inner critic” is saying to me, vs. reality…), focus better, FEEL better physically, and overall make better choices – such as pausing to notice my thoughts and choose how I am going to respond, rather than automatically react, in higher stress situations.

It’s not that I’m trying to be more positive, it’s that I’m learning to embrace and accept the duality of the world… There are always two sides to the coin.  Loving, honoring, and thanking your ‘suffering’ or anything you perceive as ‘bad’ can be really liberating.  “We can either repeat old fear-based patterns, or our suffering can awaken us to a deeper wisdom and greater love.” – Tara Brach

I’m learning that our thoughts shape our reality.  I feel more centered, grounded and calm than I have my whole life.  I feel open, loving and accepting to all aspects of life, even as more sh*t seems to be hitting the fan in the world every day. 😀 #2020

Meditation is really just about sitting with and observing your thoughts/emotions and how they feel in your body.  Not trying to change, or control anything, but just starting to observe and feel that connection.  Be present with yourself.  Accept, thank and appreciate your thoughts.  And then, you can start to choose new thoughts or emotions that feel better.  Over time, you will start feeling more connected to yourself, and to an abundance of love and acceptance (some call it God, the Universe, Source, it’s all the same thing..)

There are SO many different ways to start practicing meditation, and I definitely recommend starting small, around 2-5 minutes a day.  Another small way to start is to try to pause when you feel triggered (reacting to something that upsets you) and just get curious about how the emotion feels in your body.  Do you feel tightness in your chest?  Is it a feeling in your stomach?  Physically, what are you feeling in that moment? 

Want to try it out?  Here are some resources that I’ve experimented with and recommend:

  1. Waking Up by Sam Harris – This is an excellent app for new meditators.  And something I think is very commendable is that you can email their team if you for any reason want the premium version and cannot afford it during this tough time in the world.

  2. Insight Timer has been my go-to app.  There are tons of different meditation courses, and teachers to guide you.  It’s easy to save your favorite meditations/teachers for later.  Kenneth Soares, Tara Brach, Jason McGrice, and Saquib Rizvi are some of my favorites!

  3. Gabby Bernstein – Full disclosure, I haven’t checked out her YouTube channel but her books & online presence have had a profound impact on me.  I did a “Manifestation Challenge” in January that involved doing different types of meditations every day, and had such great results I ended up signing up for her Miracle Membership (her platform of meditations, workshops, and talks).  Her work is very “Law of Attraction-ey” and stems from A Course in Miracles, which may be too “woo-hoo” for you if you’re new to meditation, but it actually improved my life in a lot of ways.

  4. The Tapping SolutionEFT (emotional freedom technique) is newer to me and I have fallen in love with it!  It combines principles of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology.  This app guides you to tap on certain meridian endpoints, while addressing the root cause of distress, sending a calming signal to the brain.  I also love that you quantify on a scale of 1-10, your anxiety before and after tapping, so you can consciously think about how the feelings change just after a few minutes.  There is also a YouTube channel! 

  5. HeartMath – This is also newer to me and I am intrigued by it.  Just going through the HeartMath Experience videos (which are free right now) I learned a few different meditation techniques and have already been using them.  For example, the Quick Coherence technique.  Simply recalling a positive memory, and breathing that feeling of gratitude/appreciation/happiness into your heart for a few minutes.  It can change your whole day!

  6. Some more resources I’ve heard great things about but haven’t personally tried yet… 

  7. Calm (the app)

  8. Ziva Meditation


In case this sparks some interest and you want to keep learning more, here are some of my favorite books: 

  1. Wherever You Go, There You Are – John Kabat-Zinn (SO practical! Highly, highly recommend this book.)

  2. Radical Acceptance– Tara Brach (honestly, anything Tara Brach does is also highly recommended!  She has a lot of resources online!)

  3. Calm Clarity – Due Quach (an amazing story and also very scientific/neuroscience-ey, check out her meditations and resources here)

  4. Super Attractor and/or The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein (Law of Attraction type stuff, so many good principles, like her choose again method)

  5. Existential Kink – I recently listened to this audiobook and loved it.  She actually kind of poo-poo’s on the Law of Attraction concepts for being too positive (only looking at one side of the coin!), and goes more along with the Buddhist concepts of loving/accepting your “bad” (suffering) along with the “good” – i.e. loving yourself completely/unconditionally.  I found this book to be empowering, and want to try the meditations that go along with it!

I challenge you to give meditation a shot.  Start with 2-5 minutes a day, and work your way up.  Track each day that you do it and celebrate yourself for starting it.  Experiment with different kinds of meditations to see what you like best.  Think of the benefits you’ll get if you try.  What do you have to lose?!

And as always… You know where to find me if you have any questions at all.  Helping people start meditating is one of my favorite new things! ❤

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1 comentário

25 de mar. de 2022

I am diagnosed with anxiety and social anxiety. Also dealing with depression. The stress of working in controls industry and life in general can get overwhelming. Meds help for a bit but I've never tried to take a step back and just breathe and free my mind is my biggest critic. I'm quick to go from 0 to 100 real quick because I let my anxiety get the best of me when I need to just step back and breathe and disconnect. I will try these methods. Thanks

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