#MentalHealthAwarness – Tip 5 BREATHE!!

Ok, so this one is a little more difficult for me to write about. I’m a bit of a cynical bastard, I don’t really believe in fate, I’m not exactly spiritual and I’m a total atheist. So when people started talking to me about breathing as a good technique for quelling anxiety I pretty much disregarded the notion as a load of hippy nonsense (apologies to my hippie friends).

However, as with everything else along this journey (there’s my hippie side coming through), I was open to any suggestions. Plus I know so many people that swear by yoga, reiki and all sorts of other universal energy healing, so who I am to say it’s a load of bollocks.

I was recommended the HEADSPACE app so I downloaded it, found myself a quiet place, got comfortable and dived in to one of the free sessions on there. You can set it for various times which is great so I went for 15 minutes and the guy starts talking. No nonsense about auras or mystical forests and rivers. I followed along with the breathing techniques and all was well.

I decided to do this the next night before bed. And the next. And the next. In the end I could feel tingling in different parts of my body, I would feel weightless and 90% of the time I was asleep before the session ended. WITHIN 15 MINUTES!? This coming from a guy that was living on 4 hours of anxiety ridden sleep, if you can call it that, unless I was passed out more booze than human.

Headspace and mindfulness helped me learn how to control my breathing and I realised how powerful a tool it can be. Once I had this shit down I could do it anywhere. It’s calmed me down walking down the street, before a big Liverpool footy match or whilst heading out on a first date. It helped slow my heart rate, give me a positive focus and not think about shitting myself or impending doom — always a positive in my book.

I mean, it may not completely change your life but if it helps just a little then surely it’s worth keeping in mind. As I have been saying all along with these posts, it’s not about one gigantic effort of a singular fix, it’s about slowly putting things in place in your life to help you overcome obstacles and your bad days. You can try Headspace for free so switch off and give it a go. ‬

Also, here’s a list some personal fav sit down and breathe accompaniment music, don’t worry, there’s no whale sounds in there….

Helios — Eingya
Olafur Arnalds — re:member
Ludovico Einaudi — Una Mattina
Keaton Henson — Romantic Works
Explosions in The Sky — The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place

ACTUALLY, if nothing else, listen to those albums because they’re fucking brilliant 😉

Thanks as always