Rather than aiming for an unrealistic level of happiness it’s more realistic, and achievable, to aim for a certain level of ‘steadiness’ as we move through our day. Expecting to be on a never ending ‘happy high’ is totally unrealistic. And that would be exhausting! We can never maintain such an exalted state for prolonged periods of time – we eventually come down. Shit happens in life too, and will happen. We WILL experience illness, negative emotions and a range of challenging circumstances in life. We can’t escape these aspects so having tools to help us manage challenges and deal with things on a day to day basis is key.
Enjoy your problems, they don’t last forever
In keeping our mind steady we don’t drown amidst endless activity and strong emotions. We can still feel connected to ourselves as opposed to feeling like we’ve lost ourselves somewhere along the way! I’m sure you know that feeling.
The mind is like an untrained puppy that runs around and around. It’s constantly running back into the past or into the imaginary future and all those thoughts trigger all sorts of emotions, along with tension in the body, and at the end of the day we can feel exhausted!
Focusing on the breath is a technique to help keep our mind steady when we’re losing it (we all do!), feeling strong emotions or need to stay more connected and present throughout the day.
The breath is our anchor into the present moment. It may seem simple and insignificant but it’s a very powerful technique. And it’s not always easy.
When we consciously direct our mind and gentle attention to our breathing we instantly feel ourselves come back into our body. We feel more aware, more present and connected – to ourselves and also to our surroundings. Sounds especially start to stand out and also sensations and tightness in the body.
You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf
It’s a remedy for an overactive, chattering mind and, most often than not, any strong emotion we may be feeling starts to dissolve and we naturally feel calmer and more at ease. We don’t want to hold our focus too tightly – aim for a relaxed awareness of the breath and how it is right now.
The more we practice breath awareness the more we see how all of our thoughts have a corresponding breathing pattern.
You’ll start to notice the situations where you hold your breath, when it becomes shallow, when it’s deep and relaxed… You’ll start to notice what’s happening in your body.
When we become conscious of our breathing patterns we can then consciously work with the breath to either relax or give us a boost of energy.