The Miracle of Meditation: How to Use Conscious Breathing to Heal
The movie, Miracle on 34th Street makes me think of miracles at Christmastime. When asked, “How do you create a miracle?” Mother Theresa responded, “You perform the smallest acts with the greatest love and attention.”
Her advice about miracles also applies beautifully to Lifestyle Medicine. The subtle, often-over-looked act of breathing stands out as a superb action to use as the main ingredient in Mother Teresa’s recipe for miracles.
Most of us take our breath for granted. And yet, when done with great care and devotion, conscious breathing creates miracles in our lives. Scientists have repeatedly shown meditation (also known as paying attention to our breath) cures almost everything that troubles us. You’d be hard-pressed to find an ailment that meditation does not cure. Mindful breathing improves everything from chronic pain, depression, anxiety, poor memory and cognition, premature aging, low self-esteem, self-sabotaging, obesity, pessimism, addictions, and stress.
Better yet, meditation enhances our relationships.
Our breath governs our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies. Breathing is a universal language that speaks to all four of those facets. When we bother to breathe with love and devotion we align those four aspects. And thus, integrate our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. As fully integrated individuals, we relate better to ourselves as well as our fellow human beings. In this way, intentional breathing enhances our marriages, personal and professional relationships, and friendships. Harmonious relationships make life worth living by allowing us to experience joy, love, contentment, community, purpose, plus all the other things that make our lives simply divine.
I invite you to practice Lifestyle Medicine by performing the ultimate act of self-love: breathe with great devotion and attention throughout the day. Practice meditation on and off your meditation cushion. That’s what I call applied meditation, and it’s one form of Lifestyle Medicine. Through changing how you relate to your breath, you dramatically improve your health and wellbeing.
Here’s the catch.
It sounds so simple, but it’s not easy to stop taking our breath for granted. Stress disconnects us from our respiration so we hold our breath. The irony is we tune out our respiration at the very moment we need to tune into it. As I stated earlier, research shows noticing your breath works wonders. Applied meditation rescues us from stress.
Here’s one trick to make it easier to practice applied meditation: surround yourself with people who practice it. Simply joining a meditation group improves the odds of you practicing applied meditation. Being supported by a group makes it easier for you to mind your breath throughout the day.
Another way to inspire yourself to notice your breath throughout the day is to track your progress on a specific issue. Take overeating for example. Track what you eat when you breathe consciously. Research shows we lose weight when we consciously breathe before eating. Taking that moment to consciously breathe makes us more aware of what and how much we are eating. I hope you’re inspired to try applied meditation and enjoy its many benefits.
Interested in learning more about Applied Meditation? Read my blog post here to learn how to use applied meditation to work through your stress. Would your office benefit from implementing a Lifestyle Medicine for Groups program? Visit my page here to learn more.