Breathe easy my friend

Oxygen is pretty darn important.

Were you aware if you are deprived of oxygen for just a few minutes brain injuries can be sustained? And even if a mild deprivation occurs we can experience lack of attention, poor judgment, memory loss and a decrease in muscle coordination?

I remember one of my track coaches telling me that the average person takes in about 3.5 liters of air but there’s another liter that never leaves the lungs. An athlete can train their lungs  to take in twice that amount of oxygen needed and then convert this to pure energy within the muscles. But the majority of us use only half of what we have available.

One of my token phrases for friends going through stress, or pressure, or just over scheduling is to “breathe easy.” I just find when most of us are in panicking in stressful situations we start breathing to shallow or not at all, which of course from a physiological standpoint contributes to poor judgement, lack of attention, etc. My phrase isn’t life changing. It’s just another way of saying, “hey, slow down, take a breath.” We can’t make good decisions, make an impact, have peace without stepping back to take a breath.

What’s crazy is I just felt myself take a real, deep, cleansing breath this week while on vacation. I’ve been racing against a timeline, struggling  with some demons, trying to keep some level of self-discipline, as well as just living life and training for another race (which ironically also requires oxygen.) Sitting on the beach listening to the ocean, taking a boat ride on still waters somehow lifted  the elephant, that for the past month at least, has been sitting on my chest. I didn’t even realize I had not been breathing deeply until 3 days into my vacation. With no place to be and nothing to do I allowed myself to focus on the very basics of life. I physically felt myself move from the shallow, anxious ridden,  hyperventilating breathing to completely filling my lungs and breathing deeply. Breathing easier.

Breathing in. Breathing out.

As as result I feel energized, full of clarity, room for creativity and dreaming and problem solving. I feel like I can take on the world just because I took time for a full breath.

Are you breathing easy? What do you need to do to make space to breathe?

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