The Zone, Vol 39: The Art of Breathing

by The ParaDocs

December 29, 2020

The Zone Weekly with paraDocs

Have you taken a breath today?

In Volume 39 of this guest series, psychotherapist, Dr. Francis L. Battisti, and nutritionist, Dr. Helen Battisti, help us to find our center in these chaotic times. 

For over 10 years, they have worked closely with us on aging concerns and have presented many webinars and in-person workshops. Their newsletter, The Zone, is a weekly mental health and nutrition tip sheet during times of change.

Breathing is something that we do automatically, usually without thought, that is fundamental to our existence.  Our breathing can provide us with increased insight into how we are feeling and experiencing the world.  Breathing is the art of inhalation and exhalation, ideally done in a rhythmic fashion, and has a profound effect both on the body and mind.

As we continue to find ourselves in the midst of the chaos of both the pandemic and the season, we may find that we are in a position of “holding-on” and holding our breath to get through this time.  Much like holding your breath while exercising, doing sit-ups or push-ups, you may believe that this is necessary to complete them.  However, in reality, holding your breath is depriving your muscles with much needed oxygen.  On the other hand, as with pain management, breathing practices can calm the nervous system and influence how your body and mind react to the pain both physically and psychologically.

In a popular movie aired during this time of year, It’s a Wonderful Life in 1946, we find the main character George Bailey overwhelmed by the world and trying to “hold-on.”  George believes he is responsible for all that has gone wrong and that his life has had no meaning.  Only when he lets go, and begins to breath, does he begin to see what his community would have been like without him.  Breathing begins with inhaling but can’t be accomplished without letting go and exhaling.

There are a number of relaxation technique videos on YouTube that are helpful in learning these techniques. The paraDocs’ diaphragmatic breathing video can be found at, on the Battisti Management Affiliates YouTube channel.  Please enjoy and relax. 

Key Takeaways
  • Breathing can enhance our quality of life.
  • In order to keep breathing, we need to “let-go.”
  • Learning new techniques of breathing can improve our life.
Best Practices
  • Learn and practice diaphragmatic breathing techniques.
  • Breath through difficult situations.
  • Be aware of your breathing.
Things to Limit
  • Holding our breath.
  • Trying to control “it all.”
  • Not taking care of ourselves.

Becoming more aware of how important the quality of our breathing is to the quality of our life can assist us to better navigate the chaos of the present moment in time and beyond.  Taking the time to learn new breathing techniques is a great gift to give ourselves.

Quote of the Week

“Inhale, then exhale.  That’s how you will get through it.”

About the author 

The ParaDocs

The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P. and Chief Academic Officer and, Dr. Helen E. Battisti, PhD, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist. The purpose of The Zone is to provide a weekly mental-health and nutrition tip-sheet during times of change.

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