I read a study that said the average person at rest takes about 16 breaths per minute. That same person would be taking around 960 breaths per hour. Following this trend, that's about 23,000 breaths per day, and +8,500,000 breaths per year. Assuming they exercise, this would come out to around 672,000,000 breaths in a lifetime if they lived to age 80.
Does hearing this make you want to take a breath right now? It's one of the luxuries we take for granted each day. Air. Oxygen. Simple breathing. We can often forget how essential it is. After all, we don't have to pay it much mind. It is a process that happens unconsciously. But is our process of breath natural? Are we breathing to our full capacity? Are we breathing enough for our bodies to not only survive, but to thrive?
Since most of our breaths are unconscious, they can often be very shallow. Most of us weren't taught to be intentional about the way that we breathe. Our bodies can govern and regulate things like our heartbeat and digestion. Without much thought, we end up believing these things aren't worth noting. When you observe different species of animals, you find certain trends. The ones that have the longest lifespan are typically the ones that breathe long breaths. Slow, deliberate breaths make for a long and lengthy life. Look at the lifespan of a rabbit, and compare it with a tortoise. Slow and steady really does win the race.
Before you read any further, I invite you to go ahead and take a deep breath now. Don't worry I'll wait.
“Take every breath as an event.” ~Arzum Uzun
As the universe breathes and expands. As the animals breathe. As the trees and the plants breathe. In our lives, we must take time to breathe. I don't just mean breathing with your lungs. Take time to breathe with your life. Understanding the importance and the value of this will make a difference in the long run.
There is a time for inhalation and exhalation. A time for taking in information, and a time to reboot. A time for consumption, for reading, for watching and listening. A time for study, acquiring more data and knowledge. Then there's a time for breathing out. For letting go and release. There is a time for work. For massive action, grinding, and hustling. There is a time for rest, relaxation, recuperation, and recovery.
Balance, my friend. There must always be balance. It makes a much healthier life when we are not always leaning on one side of the scale. When we find ourselves tipped too far out of balance, tragic things start to happen in our lives and our health. It affects our work. It can affect our relationships. It affects the people we meet. It affects our progress. No one is perfect, but everyone must take time for rest. It is something that we all need.
When we neglect it, we start to fizzle and burn out like a light bulb. Instead, take time for yourself. Be kind to yourself. Love yourself, and know that you never have to feel guilty for taking time to breathe. Some people say you only live once, but I side with those who say we live every day. One breath at a time.
“Remember to breathe. It is after all, the secret of life.” ~Gregory Maguire
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