I had a photoshoot this weekend with a professional photographer (because, you know, I’m fancy like that), and she gave me a piece of advice that resulted in awesome photographs.
The advice? Breathe.
Yeah yeah, I know. We hear that all the time. But she showed me the difference. It was right there in her camera, undeniable, staring me in the face: when I took a deep breath and then let it out, my face relaxed, my eyes opened up, and I looked more present and connected. When I wasn’t breathing I looked nervous and tense. I had visible proof that breathing makes a difference.
So what’s the big deal? We all breathe. And we tell ourselves and one another all the time to slow down, stop and breathe. I’ve said it here before. We all say this. But what does it mean?
We breathe somewhere between 18000-50000* times a day. Each one of us, every day. That’s a whole lot of breathing. In, out. In, out. All day long. You’d think after all that we’d have this thing wired! But no. We don’t. We hold our breath when we think. We hold our breath when we’re tired. We breathe shallowly, using only part of our lungs.
So any time you pay even a sliver of attention to your breath (say, if you’re having your *cough* photo taken or something), you change your breathing just that little bit. And a little bit is good. You can set times throughout the day to remind yourself: every hour on the hour, for example, just think about your breath for that moment. That’s all. Easy. Just for that moment. There’s nothing else to do, no relaxing, no concentrating, nothing. All you are doing is noticing.
Little changes add up to big ones. You already know this about your kids; every day they grow imperceptibly and one day you notice their pant legs are up around their knees. How did that happen?
Get yourself thinking about your breathing throughout the day and I guarantee you’ll notice changes adding up in yourself. What those changes end up being is up to you.
*Internet, I am so disappointed in you! I went to five different sites and got five REALLY different answers (from 18000 to 50000? Is someone joking here or just math-incapable?). Want to know how many times you breathe in a day? Or am I the only nerdy-curious one here? Time yourself for one minute, counting your breaths, and do the math. Or if you are lazy like me, go 30 seconds. I used this clock and breathed 6 times. Of course, thinking about your breath will change how you breathe, but ignore that a moment. I got 17280.