Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Advice from Chaka: We all just need to breathe

Posted on September 29, 2014 in Perspectives, Uncategorized
By USM Free Press

by Chaka-Khan Gordon

The beginning of the school year can be stressful, especially for students navigating several full lives at once. What do I mean by that? Well, some of us are students, employees and parents all at the same time. Some of us are taking classes and taking care of older parents. Some of us are in school full-time and have a couple of unruly cats at home. We all know how time-consuming cats are.

So how do we do everything and remain serene and arguably sane? Just breathe. No seriously, one way is to focus upon how we breathe. Many of us are unaware that there are certain breathing techniques that can help us deal better with the changes and stressful aspects of everyday life.

For example, when we inhale, we should feel our bellies expand. That is a sign of optimal oxygenation. When we’re feeling anxious and stressed though, we tend to take shallower breaths. Mindful breathing can help offset some of that by making sure our breaths are deep and full.

Coherent breathing is a technique that might come in handy for those of us with a strong, competitive spirit. To do this type of breathing, we aim for five breaths per minute. Yes, you read correctly. We only take five, full breaths in sixty whole seconds. This type of breathing has an added benefit of improving our cardiovascular system. A way to manage the breaths is to count to a certain number during the inhale, then exhale while counting to the same number.

Go slowly and be aware of how your lungs feel when you breathe this way. Certainly this is a solid foundational practice for those calculus classes.

Breathing is one of the most fundamental ways to get oxygen to our bodies. Do you think common sense has become less common because we cut down so many trees? I digress.

Drinking water is the other. Which, by the way, is another important way to greet and defeat the stressors in our lives.

But I’m digressing again. Stress tends to do that to me. I’m going to go take some deep breaths while counting to ten, because the more oxygen our brains get, the clearer our thinking becomes.

And we need all our wits about us if we’re to survive those cats, I mean classes and other factors in our lives. Our wonderful radiant lives that are full of fantastic professors and unlimited financial aid!

Sorry.

I think I got a little carried away with the breathing.

Chaka-Khan Gordon is a junior double-majoring in Sociology and Women & Gender Studies. A huge fan of yoga (minus the physical exercise part), she spends much of her free time taking deep, mindful breaths while perusing Facebook. That is, when her kids and cats aren’t stressing her out.

 

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