Keep breathing, that’s the key!

My entire family loves the Lord of the Rings movies. We watch them at least once a year, and most years even more than that. Well, last night was one of those nights – complete with popcorn and s’mores (with gourmet chocolate, of course)!

In The Twin Towers (movie number two), three of the characters, Aragorn (a man), Legolas (an elf) and Gimli (a dwarf) are running across the country-side in an effort to save two of their Hobbit friends (Merry and Pippin) from certain death. As you might imagine, Gimli, being a dwarf, is having some challenges keeping up with the much taller and leaner Legolas and Aragorn. As he seems to be about to give up, he says, “Keep breathing. That’s the key.”

Truer words have not been spoken!

Arguably, one of the oldest meditation and mindfulness practices around is breathing. Yup. Breathing. This seems too good to be true! We don’t have to read a manual or hire a coach or ANYTHING – this is something WE CAN DO!

Simply paying attention to our breath brings us into the present moment instantly, slows our heart rate, and takes our stress level down a notch!

Not sure if you believe me? Let’s give it a try…I’ll practice while I’m typing it, you practice while you’re reading it. Inhale. Feel the air coming in. Notice the movement in your body (tummy expanding, chest rising). Exhale. Feel the air moving out. Notice the contraction of your ribs and abdomen. Now, check in with your stress level – notice any change? I do, and I thought I was relaxed already!

Now imagine what might happen if you tried this little trick anytime you feel stress coming on, or as you drive in rush-hour traffic, or even stand in the grocery line. If you strung about 10 minutes’ worth of these purposeful-breath-things together everyday, I dare say, your life might even change for the better. It’s certainly not going to hurt anything! Give it a try and see what happens.

“Keep breathing. That’s the key.”