Breathe Slogan Guide
Listen to this recording every morning while in front of your “Breathe” slogan. Read the article below for details.
Working with the Slogan “Breathe”
Slogans are a helpful tool to help us adopt new and skillful behaviors and attitudes. For details on how to work with slogans, read, "How to use slogans to transform your life."
The slogan, “Breathe” is a loving reminder to take multiple, short, one-breath-long mini-meditations throughout your day, as often as you remember to. This article will explain how to do a mini-breath meditation, the benefits you may receive from doing them, and when to do them.
How Does One Do a Mini-Breath-Meditation?
A mini-meditation consists of one, or more, conscious breaths. To take a conscious breath, first put one hand on your heart and another on your belly, then take a slow and deep belly breath followed by a slow and quiet exhale while placing all (or most) of your attention on feeling the sensations of breath. This can be done with eyes opened or eyes closed, depending on what is appropriate for the situation. When possible, close your eyes as this will help you focus on feeling the sensations of breath.
Feel for the sensations of breath on the area of skin between your upper lip and nose, and on the skin in and around your nostrils. The sensations in this area may be very subtle; things like the warmth of the out-breath, the coolness of the in-breath, pressure from the air going in and out, pulsing, vibrating, tingling, moisture, dryness, and so on. If you have a hard time feeling anything, gently increase the force of your breath until you can feel it moving over your skin in the area described.
As you work with the slogan, use the guided breath meditations as your daily meditation to develop mastery of your ability to feel all of the subtle sensations of breath.
There are many reasons for why you want to place one hand on your heart and another on the your belly. The warmth and pleasantness of your touch will help both of those areas relax, allowing your breaths to be deeper and longer. The hand on your heart reminds you to allow the area around your heart to relax, soften, and open. A relaxed chest and open heart helps us better address any challenging situation we may be facing. Finally, the feeling of your hands rising and falling will also help you gauge whether your breathing is predominantly in your chest, (not ideal), or your belly (preferred). Belly breathing helps sooth and calm the nervous system. In daily life, there are times when positioning the hands like this is not feasible, as when we are driving. In those situations, you don’t need to use your hands. Just use your hands whenever possible.
What Are the Benefits of Mini-Breath-Meditations?
Mini-breath meditations provide many benefits. When all or most of your attention is placed on the sensations of the breath, it temporarily stops all thinking. By briefly halting the constant barrage of thoughts, more peace, spaciousness, creativity, and a broader perspective arises that will allow you to be more clam, see the situation more clearly, and respond more skillfully. Doing frequent mini-meditations will help you be more relaxed, joyful, patient, understanding, creative, and empowered.
Don't believe something so simple, could be so powerful? Try it out for a few weeks and see.
When is it wise to take a mini-breath-meditations?
Take a conscious breath as often as possible, whenever you remember to. This will dramatically improve your life. Here are some examples of when to do it:
• Do a mini-meditation whenever you are waiting. Are you in line at a store, restaurant, or post office? Are you waiting for a train or bus, or stuck in traffic? Did the person on the other end of the call put you on hold? Take one or more conscious breaths. This will help you feel more peace, patience, and tranquility as you wait. If you are addicted to, or compulsively use, your smart phone when waiting, be sure to take a conscious breath or two before you start using your phone. You can use this image as the lock screen of your smartphone to remind you to do that:
• Take a mini-breath-meditation when you are appreciating nature. Whether you are watching a sunset, taking a walk through the park, looking at a tree, cloud, or flower, or hearing a bird sing, pause to take a conscious breath. This will help you feel awe, appreciate beauty, connect with other life forms, and be clam, relaxed, and joyful.
• Do a mini-breath-meditation while listening to others. Surprisingly, it will help you better pay attention to what the other person is saying. By putting your attention into the felt sensations of breath, you disrupt the mind’s distracting habit of thinking of what you want to say or having a running commentary on what they are saying. Without that distraction, you can hear them more fully. Try this out for a few weeks and see for yourself how much better you become at listening to others.
• Take a conscious breath whenever a disturbing emotion arises. Are you feeling impatient, angry, frustrated, annoyed, hateful, sad, depressed, overwhelmed, jealous, embarrassed, or other upsetting emotion? Take a conscious breath. Breathe in some spaciousness and clarity to help you have a more open, expansive, and creative perspective on the situation.
• Play and experiment with taking mini-meditations in a variety of situations whenever you remember to. Life is an adventure. Play with these mini-meditations in a variety of situations and see what happens. What happens if I do this when my mind is racing while I’m trying to go to sleep? What happens when I do this when my friend is scolding me? What if I do this as I transition from one activity to the next? Or before I blow out the candles on my birthday cake? Have fun with it. Let mini-meditations be part of your life adventure.
These mini-meditations can also be called a mindful pause. Mindful pauses are especially helpful whenever you have been triggered. When a strong emotion arises out of nowhere, put your hands on your belly and heart and take a mindful pause until you regain a sense of peace, calmness, and perspective.
When we are triggered, we often tend to act impulsively and unskillfully in a way that we later regret. Often we are triggered by things that other people say. If you are with someone, say, “I’ve been triggered and I need a few moments,” then close your eyes, place your hands on your heart and belly, and take a mindful pause. If possible, let your friends, family, and any other people who you live or work with know about this habit you are trying to develop. Then they will understand what you are doing when you do it. Let them also know that if you are triggered, and are not mindful enough to see it, they can close their eyes and put their hands on their belly and heart, and this will remind you to take a mindful pause.
When other people around you get triggered, this too can be triggering. Even if you are not terribly triggered, try taking a mindful pause for their sake. You can keep your eyes open or close them depending on what feels appropriate.
Of course, if someone around you takes a mindful pause, then stop what your are doing and support them by taking a mindful pause. Try all of this out in your life, and watch how this simple technique improves your relationships.
How Do I Work with the Slogan “Breathe”?
Learning to take mindful pauses throughout your day is a skill that may not come naturally, but can be learned. To develop this beneficial habit, you work with the slogan “breathe” every morning.
Print out our slogan card found at the top of the page, or if you don’t have access to a printer, write the word on an index card. Hang the slogan on your bathroom mirror and spend five minutes each morning with the slogan doing the following:
First, link the slogan to the desired behavior. Read the slogan out-loud, then take a mindful pause. Do this a few times. Then without looking at the slogan, repeat it silently to yourself from memory and take another conscious breath. Do this a few times as well. Having associated the word “breathe” with taking a mini-meditation, move on to setting some skillful intentions for the day.
Second, set some kind intentions to take conscious breaths throughout the day. Out of love for yourself and all life, set some intentions to take mindful pauses throughout your day. Think of some common afflictive emotions you feel in a normal day: fear, anger, impatience, and so on. Then set a skillful intention to take a conscious breath whenever you feel these emotions.
You set an intention by saying out-loud or silently to yourself something like: Whenever I feel ( insert your challenging emotions here) I will silently say to myself "breathe" and take a mindful pause.
Repeat this intention one or more times and really commit to making this happen today: "Whenever I feel... I will silently say to myself "breathe" and then take a mindful pause."
Finally, visualize yourself taking a mindful pause when these feelings arise. Imagine yourself in a situation that triggers one of the challenging emotions you listed. It could be a co-worker criticizing you, being stuck in traffic, facing technical difficulties on the computer, or your kids not doing what you ask them to. Visualize a common situation that triggers one of your challenging emotions and instead of reaction how you normally react, imagine yourself responding by silently saying "breathe" to yourself and then taking a mini-meditation. As you imagine this, feel how that conscious breath makes you feel more peaceful, powerful, patience, kind, and creative so you can respond to the situation skillfully and with kindness.
Do as many of these visualizations as you wish for any and all challenging emotions you may face today.
When you work with the slogan in this way every day, you will find that you remember to “breathe” more and more each day. Once you make mindful pauses a habit, you will then experience the many rewards of this simple yet powerful practice.
Start by Using Our “Breathe” Slogan Guide
To learn how to work with the “Breathe” slogan, we encourage you to use the 5-minute “Breathe” Slogan Guide. This recording walks you through this process. Simply listen to it and follow the instructions every morning while you are in front of the slogan card. Use this recording every day until you know how to work with the slogan card. Once you know how to work with the slogan, you can do it on your own without the recording.
The recording is posted at the top of this article. You can download or stream it to a portable listening device.
So put a sign “breathe” on your bathroom mirror so you see it every morning. Use the above images to have the slogan be on your phone and computer. Every time you see the slogan, let it remind you of your noble intention to do lots of mini-breath-meditations throughout your day. Especially do them when waiting, when appreciating nature, when listening to others, when disturbing emotions arise, and whenever else you remember to do them.
Then pay attention to how radically this simple, easy, habit transforms your life for the better. Feel how there is more peace, calmness, tranquility, and joy in your life. Notice how you are becoming a better listener and how this is improving your relationships. Observe how there is more clarity, creativity, and perspective in your thoughts. Enjoy your ability to better appreciate and savor the beauty, wonder, and awesomeness of the life all around you.
All of this may be yours if you simply remember to “breathe.” ☺