Thursday, August 11, 2016

366 Project - Day 224 - "Abstract (Captured Air)"

August 11, 2016 - "Abstract (Captured Air)"

Breathe in for three...

Breathe out for six.

Inhale the good...

Exhale the bad.

Recently I had to do a Biofeedback Session. I was hooked up to a computer and for the first two minute segment, I did nothing. I just sat there... breathing normally... not really moving at all... not really thinking about anything in particular. This was to get a "baseline reading".

Next I had to focus my thoughts on something that annoys or frustrates me. This was to get a reading of how stress affects my baseline. As I sat there thinking about my "something", I could actually sense my breathing changing... becoming shallower and I was able to hear each breath. I could also feel my heartbeat through my chest.

Finally, for the third and final segment, I had to relax and focus on breathing. Breathe in for three counts... breathe out for six, making sure that I was breathing with my belly, not with my chest. (I actually had my hand on my belly so I could feel that it would expand as I'd inhale... and collapse as I exhaled.)

After all of this we went over the results of each segment.

Baseline showed very high stress overall. I think the score was around 75 out of a max of 100. That was just resting... and the fact that I'm on medications for high blood pressure indicates that my score might actually be higher than what was recorded (as blood pressure meds calm the heart and can result in lower scores than what is actually happening).

For the second segment, while I was thinking about my "something", everything shot off the charts. Stress was at the max... and my body showed no signs of doing anything to attempt to calm itself. Apparently it was so "off the charts" that the session was actually cut short - so I didn't have to stay in that state for a full two minutes. After that segment I felt tense and mentally drained.

After the mere two minute session of focused breathing, however, the overall stress level dropped below 50... and all recorded levels were stable compared to the first two segments. I actually felt really good after that final segment!

Looking at all of the charts and scores and wave patterns and such - I just sat there amazed. It's hard to argue with a computer screen that is showing you how tense and on-edge you are... and impossible to argue with the visible results of how something so simple as "breathing" can change everything.

It sort of got me thinking about just how important and precious every breath we take truly is... and how much we take each breath for granted. "Breathing" is an amazing and wonderful thing, when you really think about it. The fact that something invisible can play such a vital and powerful role in your life, well... it's pretty hard to grasp, isn't it? Yet we never doubt or question the air that surrounds us. We breathe and breathe without recognizing the air - until such a time comes when, for some reason or another, we cannot breathe... and suddenly we panic, not knowing what to do.

That's an interesting concept overall: Something we cannot see plays a vital and powerful role in our lives... and we often choose to not acknowledge that something until we find ourselves desperate and in need, at which point we can't help but wish we had the life-giving help of what we cannot see, even though it surrounds us.

Sometimes it takes "not being able to breathe" for us to wake up and appreciate the air around us.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy for us to recognize the things we cannot see.

Don't let it take a tragedy for you to recognize the unseen. Take a breath... and offer a prayer of thanksgiving for that breath and all of the others you have been and ever will be blessed with.

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