Deep Breathing Challenge, Day #14

It is Day 14 now: 

I am two weeks into my commitment to deep breathing for thirty full days. As you know, I took on this challenge to see if anything would positively impact my way of life. So far, I have yawned a whole bunch, my chronic hiccups have diminished, my Intercostals have been working out the knots in the muscles on their own, I have successfully gained control of my vocal pace, volume, thought output, and I have sweat a whole ton of toxins out of my body.

1. Sleeping

I would be lying if I said that I was good enough to consciously deep breathe while sleeping, and because I am already a vivid, tuned in, and lucid dreamer; I can’t really say that I am taking up awareness to my breathing depending on what I am dreaming about. I still twitch and move in my sleep, as well as make some weird faces. Sometimes I still wake up in a pool of sweat or my beau will hear me moaning and groaning like I’m having a deep conversation in my dreaming world, but what I have noticed about sleeping from my deep breathing is the length of time it takes me to go to sleep. It doesn’t take long. I have slept deep and thorough. Sometimes, too thorough to the point where I could and would spend all day sleeping if I didn’t have to get up for work and let me tell you, it feels soooo good when I wake up! Last night, I fell asleep watching a movie with Danny and woke up at 10:30pm telling him I was just preparing to take Zai out and feed her breakfast before I get ready for work. Realizing what time it really was, I was elated knowing that a) it was still nighttime and b) I could go back to sleep and finish enjoying the dream I had woken up from. The two hours I had slept had given me such deep and purified energy that I was ready for the day to begin, BEFORE IT EVEN HIT MIDNIGHT!! Everytime I fall asleep, I sleep deep. That’s not unusual for me. But the length of time it usually takes for me to fall asleep is almost an hour, if not more than that.

I have a weakness for insomnia. And when I am deep breathing all evening and after mindfully chewing my food and mindfully taking my dog out for her nighttime potty, I get to mindfully lay in bed and put my waking day to rest for seven hours of restful sleep.

2. Calm, Cool, and Collected

Now, before I get started – this isn’t to say that I don’t ever get mad about something I feel is an important conversation. Last Tuesday night, I lost my cool, completely. I was very passionate about my side of opinion on a touchy subject. I defended my end with no apologies. I cried a lot, and it took a couple days of almost complete silence, zero appetite for food, and no physical touching, for me to decide where exactly it was that I fit in this whole scheme of things. That being said, I unleashed every dark side of me. I had a “now or never” moment and knew that it was either then I would forgive every piece of my past, every mental and emotional fear I have, and everything I’ve ever held in; or I would sit with it forever, allowing the person I loved the most to never get a genuine chance to see why I lived the way I did and why certain things affect me as they do. The scariest part of being with someone is showing them every beautiful, whimsical, terrifying, ugly, wonderful, brave, and courageous piece of you.

Deep breathing has given me a chance prior and post that experience, to remain so calm, that Danny has asked me multiple times, if I am okay. Since I’m not talking fast and I’m not speaking loudly, and I’m not talking about every tiny insignificant detail on my mind, I am sitting with my thoughts (which, deep breath after another, seem to be little thanks to the natural filtering process my instincts have taken on). When I speak, it’s with the intention to have conversation or to communicate with meaning; instead of talking to hear the sound of my voice.

Being calm has given me a better understanding on the World and myself. Things that make shake my head that I have done in the past and hopeful reactions I will have in the future. My eyes have been opened to something so special. My life has been so full of loud noises, chaotic moments, for so long and it hasn’t been until these last 4 years of awakening and learning zen, peace, and meditation, that I have really honed myself in myself. 

Utilizing my newfound state of my mind, I am appreciating the observant side in myself. Talking less has given me the peace to be quiet. It has given me the respect and appreciation of what it means to be quiet. Not having an opinion on every bit of thing is freeing! I never knew it could be that way. Not sharing my experiences or memories when someone is trying to genuinely share something great about their lives is joyful and exciting and an eye opener. Realizing how rude I’ve probably been for so long. It’s enlightening and a beautiful change to accept from within. To listen is a beautiful gift. I don’t just know this now, but I truly appreciate this now. 
I hope you all have enjoyed my update for this week. Peace be with all of you!

Deep Breathing Challenge, Day 7

And so the challenge continues!

I will tell you, that first of all, paying attention to your breathing is actually a lot harder than it seems.

It is Day #7:

My body has gotten over yawning and I have started to naturally breathe a lot deeper. I worked on my own ribs the other night and the knots that have accrued in my Intercostals have started to dissipate, which is completely unexpected of this challenge.

There have a been a few things I have noticed during this first week of the challenge:

1. Reduction in my tone of voice

I have a natural inclination to speak loudly, as if I am whispering through a megaphone. It’s a really unflattering quality I have, and have been told more than enough times throughout my life, “You don’t have to yell. I am right here.” Thank God for those people (which is the majority of people I have met), because without their observations, I would never take up an awareness to my vocal volume. One week into this challenge, and I am noticing the wonderful affect that deep breathing has on my tone of voice. Because I am taking the time to take deep breaths, my body is actually developing an awareness to naturally bring down the level of my volume. Now, this is something I had hoped to accomplish from this challenge, although I wasn’t really sure if it would happen or not. But this is the point of challenges! To see how something affects you and if it is something that works for you or against you. It’s a time to develop or strengthen healthy habits and dissolve unhealthy ones. I am really happy about this accomplishment, and just like the fear I used to have of never going to have pretty nails because of my feverish addiction to bite them into nubs – I am finally working through a lifetime weakness that has prohibited me in many ways; the biggest one: being taken seriously. The fact that my tone is on a better-leveled playing field, I am noticing that people are more inclined to keep eye contact with me and listening to what I am saying, versus just waiting for the chance to tell me to shut up.

2. Deeper breathing = Less words

Among my volume, I am noticing that I am talking much, much less. Because of deep breathing, I am giving myself the time to think clearly about what I want to say and how I want to say it. I am able to filter out unnecessary and/or foolish commentary, before I speak. It allows me to process my thoughts by slowing down my speech to an appropriate pace when having conversations, and gives the recipient(s) a sincere chance to listen to what I’m saying. I suppose it’s a common misconception to think that if one speaks faster, it would almost force people to listen more intently; however, did you know it actually enables them to drown out your words with their own thoughts?

Speaking quickly not only cuts off somebody’s attention span, but is considered in some countries to be unbecoming of a person to not let the conversation be equal. We are more inclined to just talk and talk and talk and rant when we speak fast; just getting lost in our own words. The worst part is that, the conversations don’t last as long because once you’re done, the person has lost interest and the exchange is a lot less meaningful.

According to PsyBlog, Understand Your Mind,  between the years of 1976 and 1980’s two studies were taken about the effects of speech rate and whether or not the audience was more inclined to listen thoroughly. By the 1990’s, a balanced speech factor had newly emerged into the information of millions. The basis of this information is the issue of persuasion. When an audience heard information about a topic they disagreed with, they had more time to produce counter-arguments if the speaker spoke a slower speech rate, whereas speaking a faster rate would give them less time to come up with a counter argument and giving the speaker an increased chance of persuasion. Now if the audience is listening to something they do agree with, there is less time for them to evaluate your words and agree with your thoughts when the message comes in too quickly. But, when it comes in slow, they have sufficient time to evaluate the arguments, agree and be even more persuaded by your thoughts.

Another super interesting article I came across is from Cobalt Communication. Author, Andrew Lightheart, states that speaking slower gives you more control, and when taking deeper breaths to control your pace, it gives a positive impact on your emotions! Actually being able to control your nerves and adrenaline. Very cool. This article isn’t just informational, it’s a very good read.

3. Sweating more often

Another observation I have made is that of my sweat glands. I can literally feel the pores of my body opening up and the persperation pouring out. The toxins in my body filter through my blood stream much more efficiently, and the feeling of release has never felt so good! I can only imagine how good I will feel at the end of this challenge. At that point, my diaphram will be trained and strengthened to carry on the healthy habit. It’s also an interesting twist that my phermones are changing in scent. Because of the toxins in the layers of integument are releasing, my body is producing more of the healthy bacteria and oils, which ultimately, increases the purification of all organisms throughout the body. From the nucleas, all the way to the outside pore, and everything in between – the molecules change their overall scent.

These are the three biggest things this first week that I have noticed. I have twenty-three days to go and I am so excited to see where it takes me on this journey. Thank you for keeping up with me. I hope this inspires you in return to challenge yourself with something you have been interested in.

Deep Breath In, Deep Breath Out

This past Friday evening, Danny and I came home to a record high, 88 degrees in our house. With humidity; that’s comparable to a sauna. We couldn’t escape the heat and only two windows in our apartment (out of six) open up. We decided it’s time. The air conditioner from the attic got brought down and set up in the living room. We couldn’t seem to get it filtering through the house fast enough for us to cool down. He took a cold shower and I took many deep breaths (as I normally do in the saunas and steam rooms to deal with the overwhelming heat and sweat factors).

After moving our mattress into the living room, we finally got a place of peace. Cool air and one super happy dog. Since we haven’t yet got a couch, we figured, why the hell not? I will tell you, it’s like living in a studio and I love the daily adventures Danny and I have together in this apartment. This being the newest one, inspired me on a new 30 Day Challenge.


Last night,  we were laughing and exhausted after dinner and cleaning up. We had some time to kill after we used the rest of our data to watch Orange Is the New Black: Season 3. That was when I suggested we geek out together: massage therapy style. I was so excited, I jumped to the bookshelf and grabbed my anatomy book and started flipping through it.

“Name me all the Deep Hip Rotators from Superior to Inferior!” I said, and when he would get stuck, we would go through the analogies together. “Go Go P Quick! What’s it stand for?!” and there was “Name me Two Majors & A Miss!” “Where is it at?!” “YEAH!!!”

SO MUCH FUN! Geeking out with your boyfriend when you both know what you’re talking about, is about as fun as going to an amusement park with no lines for the rides; in my opinion. We went on like that for about an hour and laughing so hard.


He started talking to me about yawning and deep breathing versus shallow breathing. I was intrigued about everything he had to say about the topic and realized, other than in meditation, when do people breathe deeply? And if we made a conscious effort to deep breathe every waking moment, what kinds of positive changes would we manifest in our reality? Would it change anything at all?

“I’m going to find out..” I said, “I am going to do a 30 day challenge and I’m going to breathe deeply for thirty days, as consciously as possible no matter what it is I’m doing and I am going to see how it affects my life in any area.”


So here we are, Day #1:

So far, the only thing I have noticed is that I am yawning a ton. When you go from shallow breathing, to deep breathing, you are in-taking more air than is recognizable for your body to sort through. There is so much oxygen to process it becomes overwhelming to the vessel and results in a yawn. This is why, when most of us do yoga or meditations, we feel ourselves yawning when we are breathing and becoming fully aware of our body.

Lots and lots of yawns.

I will admit it is a challenge to keep mindful of deep breaths during talking, walking, cooking, driving, or singing….. things we literally never think about breathing with. Sometimes I will forget and catch myself moments later suddenly wondering, “Oh wow, have I even been breathing this whole time?” and quickly realizing, it’s a learning system. I am essentially teaching an old dog new tricks. Redesigning my lungs, their capacity, and my diaphragm.

Can these get sore, like working out makes our other muscles sore? Hmm… food for thought.

Until the next update, I’m Zynnia. And I hope you all have a great day! 🙂

Where Smartphones Hold Us Back

If you read my post about social media in our modern society, you would know that I don’t see the concept of social media as black and white. It has its place here and when used in the most effective way possible, it can be extremely beneficial and entertaining.

Problems arise when something inside of a boundary oversteps the line. Where technology is concerned, it’s a problem when our attention to our cell phones is put in place of our attention to human interaction. Smartphones have, to an extent, disrupted our in-person interactions and bonding opportune moments with one another. We rely on TV to entertain us and our guests more than sitting down and enjoying hours of great conversation and discussions. Sometimes, you find that you can have a room full of people and nobody is talking to each other because everybody is too deeply engaged in their technological World to look up. They are too busy reviewing their social media status. Over the course of this popularity growth, we have seen social skills take a dive. It becomes that much harder to bond with our surroundings without the technological third wheel.


 


What we have here is a classic case of good things being taken for granted. Whether we are aware of this happening or not, our relationships with our smartphones are holding us back from expanding our relationships with other human being.

Cell phones have their place, they have their advantages, and certainly have their benefits. The trick is to knowing where, what, and when to assert said “pro’s”.


“Don’t make time for people who don’t make time for you.”


Have you ever been able to have a full uninterrupted conversation with somebody with a smartphone going off and you or the other person are checking it? Have you ever really paid attention to your emotional level when that happens? Unless you’re on emergency standby for a family member, it’s rude to be on your phone when you’re in the company of anybody else. Plain. And. Simple.

Is it really that important to be scrolling through your Instagram when you have somebody trying to talk with you? How do you feel when you are excited to partake in a great conversation with somebody and they don’t give you quality attention? They tell you with their actions, “whatever is on my phone can’t wait and it’s more important than you.”
Isn’t that mean? It hurts people’s feelings.

Your friends didn’t take time to hangout with you or go do something eventful just to have you obsessively looking at your phone. Where does your value stand in the eyes of your friends and family, the more you disregard their personal company? Do you think you’ll always be the first one called going forward? “Nah man. Don’t call them. What’s it matter? They’re just gonna be on their phone the whole time anyway. Let’s invite somebody who will actually hangout with us.”

Hanging out is not defined by simply giving your physical presence. Giving somebody your time and your company is so much more than being physically present. When you give them your mental presence and your emotional presence, you’re telling them you appreciate their time. You respect them as a person. You enjoy their company. You genuinely like to be around them for the energy they have and the feeling of comfort they give you.


 

“Those who mind, don’t matter
and those who matter,
won’t mind.”