Every parent is familiar with the overwhelming feeling that swells up when our patience is at its end. Implementing breathwork can improve our reactions from frustrated responses to positive and effective parenting. Our children are consistently learning from our behavior; if we can learn to take a moment to breathe intuitively before reacting to stressful situations, we will set a more positive example for the growing minds watching us. Establishing a breathwork practice can teach us to rely on our breath rather than allowing the daily stress to consume us.
As a stay-at-home mom with a full-time job, stress has been a long-time invader of my daily joy and peace. As my parents often say, “I blinked when I was thirty and then I was sixty.” Life is too short to allow stress to control our mood. When I learned about breathwork, my initial thoughts were skeptical — but then I tried it. It is incredible how it can change the way we are feeling, thinking and acting. After breathwork I feel light and grateful; it gives me perspective and helps me find a healthy balance with my emotions. It replaces stress with a clear mind; this will allow us to take on the day as our best selves.
We live in a world where our nervous systems are constantly overwhelmed and we can easily allow that to negatively affect our parenting. Practicing breathwork resets our nervous system which allows us to experience authentic tranquility. Establishing a consistent breathwork practice will allow us to create the habit of breathing before reacting. The demands of a parent can be hard on our bodies and mind — there is always noise and multiple things going on at once. We are strong, resilient and patient by nature but we have limits.
Instead of allowing our stress to reside inside us, we can send it away with our breath. Having a healthy way to truly relax and reset is crucial to our wellbeing. Stress is the root cause of many illnesses that plague our communities; it is a trigger for many underlining health issues. When we are faced with difficult parenting situations, we should be able to approach it with a clear mind instead of allowing our stress to control our response. A calm demeanor will improve our understanding and communication. I know, as busy parents we do not always have the opportunity to lock ourselves in our rooms to breathe for half an hour, but simply taking a few deep breaths can improve our mood and give us clarity.
Box breathing is a simple technique that can be done anywhere and at any time. Inhale into your stomach for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds.
For longer guided breathwork I would recommend Othership (found in the app store and on YouTube). They have a variety of practices for different applications. There are many breathing techniques that can be applied, ranging from five minutes to hours long. Regardless of the time we have or the technique we use, the benefits of breathwork are monumental.
Not only is breathwork good for our kids because it can help us be mindful parents, it is also a great habit for them to learn. Our children can experience intense emotions, and, just like adults, they need a way to cope with their stress. Breathwork will provide them with a healthy outlet that they can rely on throughout their whole life. Encouraging our children to create this habit young will allow them to experience life without constantly being weighed down by stress. Children learn how to behave by watching the people around them. Often, they will say or do something that has clearly come from one of their caregivers. It can be funny, make us feel proud or it may be an eye opener into ways we can improve ourselves. When our children are overflowing with emotions, we can calmly take their hands and tell them to breathe deep with us. It may not be successful right away, but after consistent practice it can become a natural reaction for them.
Even with a breathwork practice, we will still experience frustration and stress, but what matters is what we do with those emotions. We can allow them to consume us or we can choose to grow through it. No parent is perfect; we will continue to make mistakes as we navigate through the adventure of raising children. We can set a great example for our kids by learning from those mistakes and by continuing to better ourselves. Our breath has the ability to transform our minds — filling us with love, gratitude and unimaginable peace.