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Breathing for Survival

November 3, 2013
Deep Breathing

Deep Breathing

One of the most important things I have ever done for myself is learning to breathe and how to focus in on it. All my life, I had survived by keeping my attention outside myself, or so I thought. But that is not the case any longer. The way I survive, the way I continue to be myself and ground myself is only when I turn my focus inward. It all starts with breathing.

Just realizing how fundamental breathing is to the physical body for survival has become testament to me about how vitally fundamental it is for the mind and soul as well. It is by paying attention to my breathing that I am able to find myself at the times that I get lost.

Although they do not usually last for long periods of time, some emotions can be so intense as to flood our systems the way turning the ignition of a car over and over again can flood the engine, enabling it to move at all. That is what happens with me when my emotions flood together. I become paralyzed. There is too much input. It may actually be a physiological flooding that happens with hormones and neurons for all I know, but it doesn’t really matter because the end result is the same.



I am flooded and I need to do something to help the waters recede or else I am going to be totally swept away.

Amazingly, the very breaths that I take are what saves me from being swept away. By focusing on that simple, basic function, I somehow stop running from the feelings that were sweeping me away and I have rediscovered dry ground, a place in which I can anchor myself once more. There is something stable, something that is not in the path of everything else that is swirling around it. By allowing myself to breathe through them and stop running from them, they become smaller and my sense of being grounded where I stand becomes stronger. I do not have to be swept away.

Standing Firm

Standing Firm

My feelings and run-away emotions and thoughts will be swept away, not me. I will remain and live to see another day. I can hold my ground and stand firm, knowing that there may be some clean-up work to do after it passes, but I will be here, and I will be okay. I will survive, inhaling and exhaling as long as there is the next breath.

Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

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