Apr 182008

I’ve found that asking myself  ‘Am I still breathing?’, whenever I remember, is a great shortcut to getting into the present moment, and all the health benefits that brings.

From the first 7 weeks of the Oprah/Tolle telecourse ‘A New Earth’, asking this question has been the single most effective tip for me, and I’m using it consistently.

I’ve found that pausing and asking myself whether I’m still breathing before responding to a demanding teenager defuses my ordinarily angry response into something more measured – less stress for both of us!

I’ve found decisions come quickly and easily when I’ve first asked myself whether I’m breathing – again less stress, and more energy available for other things.

I’ve found that pausing and asking myself whether I’m still breathing before choosing what to eat steers me towards unprocessed, healthy options – more energy, a trimmer figure, mental clarity.

In fact, almost anything I do seems to benefit from this simple tip – provided, of course, I remember to use it!

How does it work?

Asking yourself ‘Am I still breathing?’ automatically shifts your focus to your physical body and your immediate surroundings, which in turn takes you to the present moment. When you are focused in the present, you access Be-ing, stillness, awareness, soul – whatever name you choose for the state in which you go past the ego to your spiritual self.

Your spiritual self is connected to the greater spiritual whole which will inspire your response to the situation you face in the moment. You’ll find yourself spontaneously inspired to take the right action.

When you’re in the present you let go of all the repetitive thoughts that normally circulate incessantly around our minds about the past and the future. So you free up masses of energy which was locked in those emotions and feelings.

Try it for yourself

Take a couple of seconds to ask yourself ‘Am I still breathing?’

Notice what effect this has. For me: I become acutely aware of my physical body, my surroundings, and a stillness as my thoughts of a moment ago fall away. Your response will probably be somewhat different.

Keep asking yourself the question whenever you remember, and notice what happens. Even remembering once a day will make a difference.

If you find it difficult to remember, try writing ‘Am I still breathing?’ on a Post-it, and stick it on your computer, fridge or another reminder place. Or, as I just felt inspired to do, make a screensaver out of the question.

Like every technique, it gets easier with practice!

The Delicious Nugget: Asking yourself ‘Am I still breathing?’ is a really effective shortcut to being in the present moment, and many consequent health benefits.

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