The Discipline of 100 Breaths

Go ahead. Try it. It really only takes 100 breaths to change your mental state. Believe me, I am not the best role model for meditation, relaxation or contemplation. Being busy doing what I love is as satisfying as it is stressful for me. I can go for weeks without really stopping – which is probably not a good thing.

Eventually, we do need to stop – and finding ways to do that can be very challenging – and consequently many of us fail to find the time, focus or energy to integrate those healthful ways of being into our daily lives.

But what if I told you it takes less than 2 minutes to stop completely and relax your mind, body and spirit? Through the Discipline of 100 Breaths you can disengage from:

Stress                  Fear           Tension         Grief          Anger         Worry

Obsession          Demands of others                 Perfections         Cravings

Anxiety         Hostility         Frustration                  Agitation            Overexcitement

-and whatever else is charging up your inner state.

If you can do three things and ONLY three things you can change your internal state:

1  Find a quiet place to stand, sit or lie down and close your eyes.

2  Take 100 breaths – in and out, in and out. Not fancy deep breaths, -in one second, out the next. They don’t need to be fast, or slow, deep or shallow. Just 100 normal breaths.

3  (Now here’s the hard part) ONLY Breathe. Pay attention to your breathing alone for 100 breaths. No planning, worrying, fretting about one thing or another. Literally for a moment.

That final step is difficult and some of us will fail it – usually because our anxiety is so extreme or our ability to focus is impaired or undisciplined. But if you fail the first time, you can train your brain to cooperate with some practice.

Give it a try – and enjoy your refreshed, calmed state of mind.

About Elizabeth

Located at AltCare Health Center, 1144 Lake Street, Suite 207 Ph: (708) 848-9900 or Ph: (866) 225-9196 Fax: (708) 848-9902 Email: Elizabeth@ElizabethRitzman.com Elizabeth (Betsy) was trained at Kansas State University (M.S.) and McCormick Theological Seminary (M.Div.) in counseling and psychotherapy. She is licensed to practice in the state of Illinois and is a member of the American Association of Pastoral Counseling. She practices the art and science of psychotherapy which is a form of listening and reflecting that engages our capacity to heal and transform the conditions and problems that undermine our mental health and wellness. It is useful for individuals, families and couples. It creates a safe space where the story of one’s life can unfold and become open for change.
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