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  • Writer's pictureKevin Arnold

Kevin's Controlled Breathing

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go:

I will guide thee with mine eye. Psalm 32:8

Easy as 1-2-3.

First, get into a comfortable position, often lying down. Loosen tight clothing.

Second, fill your lungs as you count to seven. Then inhale deeper as you count 8-9-10 (demonstrate that you can push yourself a little further than you thought).

Third, with fully-filled lungs, wait five seconds before you exhale. This would be a good time to silently say your mantra (see below).

Repeat. I try to do at least five of these breaths at a time, which I mentally count on my fingers. If you’re concentrating, one round of five of these, a handful, will often produce some physical sign that your digestive tract is relaxing, at least a gurgle. Welcome any sign you’re losing control by taking control.

That’s it!

Some kind of mantra-like saying in the five seconds your lungs are fully expanded can enhance your experience. The internet has hundreds of mantra recommendations. My preference is for a mantra that’s aspirational but not ridiculously so. If I picture myself getting the Nobel prize for literature next year it won’t register, but if I see the world slowly recognizing me, I may smile.

If you want to focus on your marriage, your mantra might be “Jorge and I share a wonderful life together.” Perhaps “I am a powerful black woman” might be appropriate. If you’re comfortable, you might include God. Two of my favorites are “God loves to team up with me,” and “God enjoys making good things happen for me.” You can use different words on different days, or even on the same day. Some days I just count, slowly, to five.

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