Permission To Breathe

Today I took a long walk outside. It is March 2,2021 and Michigan has uncharacteristically sunny weather. I am taking full advantage of this as I a person who has suffered crippling SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in the past. Winters are not something I am accustomed to. My face is towards the sun, and I breath inside of my coat to keep my lungs warm. While I am walking, I receive a phone call with the news that my nephew is in the hospital with an unknown diagnosis. This leaves me short of breath, and my motivation to enjoy the sun vanishing quickly. I feel as though I am going to pass out.

This news reminds me of the day my nephew was born. It was a week after I had lost a baby, a still birth. The joy and grief of the day my nephew was born was overwhelming. Not a moment I would ever trade for another. I have always felt a special bond with this boy. He was the sunshine in a very difficult time. He has always been a reminder of the cyclical nature of our existence. There is always someone rejoicing. There is always someone mourning.

I want to enjoy the sunshine. I do not want to prematurely mourn. I am trying not to spiral. I remember to breathe. One slow breathe. An inhale. An exhale. I am reminded that just this weekend I was studying about the importance of breath. “Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbo

n dioxide. Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.” (Harvard Health Publishing,2015). I feel like I should know that deep breathing will help me.

It should be easy. When my body needs it most , I subconsciously deprive it. I realize that I need to give my body permission to breath. I remind myself to be present and to feel the sun on my nose. I invite the cold air into my lungs, exhaling toxic air from my lungs. I imagine anxiety leaving my body. I imagine peace entering my body and thoughts. I give permission to myself to feel calm. I embrace the exchange of incoming oxygen with outgoing carbon dioxide.

I decide I need to practice restorative breath when I am calm. It will be a way to give permission to my lungs before needed. “Breathing exercises have been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure, increase lung endurance and strength, and release endorphins that improve your mood. Breathing may also help immune system health and help decrease stress levels.”( Groskreutz,2020). Yes, I will practice giving myself permission to breath.


Groskreutz, Lindsey. “Benefits of Deep Breathing.” Hegg Health Center, 17 Aug. 2020,

Harvard Health Publishing. “Relaxation Techniques: Breath Control Helps Quell Errant Stress Response.” Harvard Health, Jan. 2015,

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