Use a Breath-Based Mantra to Fuel Your Day
Put more meaning into that inhale and exhale.
Inhale, exhale, repeat. The lovely autonomous nature of our breath is simple and beautiful, and is the one thing (okay, besides blinking) that we are born knowing how to do. Because it’s easy to take the given for granted that baseline breath is easily forgotten because it is so second nature.
We especially lose sight of it when stress comes knocking, almost daily, at our door. With stress manifesting itself in seemingly every crevice of our lives these days—from true trauma to late-night emails from your boss—it’s important to remember and rely on that one thing we always have: our breath.
Sure, you’re able to get through your day just fine, but what if you put your breath to work and used it to your advantage? With a little bit of mindfulness (which has scientific benefits from everything from mood to focus) and a side of mantra, you can reduce your stress while also bringing more connectedness and mindfulness to your day.
Consider this breath exercise a mini meditation but with a super low barrier to entry: it’s easy, there’s no time minimum or maximum, you can do it wherever and whenever and it’s simply about awareness.
Here’s how to mindfully use your breath as a mini meditation:
First, concentrate on your breath. Don’t over think it—just start to notice your breath pattern. Are you taking a longer inhale than exhale? Do you hold your breath before you exhale? Are you barely breathing then sighing or yawning to bring in more air? Just noticing your breath gives you a good idea of your breath baseline.
Regulate your breath, then apply a word to your inhale and a word to your exhale. Think of the first word as something you’d like to take into your body or being. Think of the second word as something you’d like to expel from your body or being. The first word ends up being inherently positive and the second one is usually negative. (Good, let that shit go!)
Here are some of our favorites:
Inhale strength, exhale weakness.
Inhale confidence, exhale doubt.
Inhale peace, exhale fear.
Inhale ease, exhale effort.
Inhale power, exhale failure
Every short breath doesn’t necessarily have to be a repetition of these words, but rather keep the two juxtaposed words floating around in your mind as you pay attention to your new, more regulated breath pattern. Throughout your day, give yourself some conscious deep breaths and say your inhale-exhale mantra silently.
Like Shakira said, whenever, wherever! Breathe into your mantra especially when things bump into high stress mode. It’s easy in those tough times to put your head down and push through, but it’s exactly then that it’s important to use mindfulness to find your center and clarity. Whether it’s at your desk at work, in your workout or just before you fall asleep, pair this breath-based mantra with any moment or activity (you’re breathing all day, everyday!) and you’ll feel your body and mind take in good while cleansing itself of unnecessary negativity.
Take a physical and mental inventory after a session of inhaling something positive and exhaling something negative. With all those healing inhales and exhales, you’ll most likely find yourself refreshed. You’ll have reduced your stress, found an empowered state and feel a little extra inner space. And when that happens, there’s no limit to what you can create.