inhaling sammiches

In the latest issue of Real Simple, there’s an article on breathing exercises.  When we’re feeling stressed or anxious, or when we’re just swept up in manic day-to-day responsibilities, the author tells us, we often take short, shallow breaths or even hold our breath completely.

I was skeptical at first, but then I spent yesterday (a particularly stressful day that involved much job-market gnashing of teeth) and today (much less stressful but filled with minute responsibilities) observing my breath.  I hold my breath ALL THE TIME.  I also clench my teeth.  I’m surprised I don’t keel over and swoon, Victorian heroine style.

[Really, not many Victorian heroines swoon.]

So I’ve decided to take a few moments a few times each day to observe my breath.  This is all very yoga class.  I’ve also started to lull myself to sleep by taking long, deep breaths that, supposedly, are exercising my diaphragm and inflating my stomach with peace, love, and fuzzy lambs.  All good feelings.  The article recommended that, while breathing in, I think of a positive word or circumstance, and while breathing out, I expel a negative feeling.  This is supposed to stop the whirling whirling stress madness that keeps many of us awake.  The author recommended that I inhale “peace” and exhale “stress.”

This is not specific enough for me.  I would prefer to inhale Arby’s roast beef sammiches (literally and figuratively) and exhale that jerkface who didn’t put away his grocery cart at Randall’s this afternoon.  Or maybe I could inhale a vision of me getting that-one-job-I-really-want and exhale November’s rent.  Inhale a Houston day less than 80 degrees.  Exhale the Roach: Texas Edition that greeted me when I came home last week.  (Make that half-a-roach, as the cats discovered it first.)  Of course, thinking this much about the positive things I’m inhaling and the negative things I’m exhaling defeats the purpose, and in my typical manner of aggressive organization I start to sort and tally the negatives and positives in the brightly colored fileboxes in my brain, all purchased at the mental equivalent of The Container Store.  How many roast beef sammiches would balance out, say, a snarky comment from a strange woman at the bookstore?

The breathing thing is important, obviously, and supposedly boosts your immune system and improves blood pressure and therefore heart health.  But for now, I think I’ll have to stick to my old method of falling asleep: reading until the words start swimming.

Now I really want a roast beef sammich.  Mmmmmmmmarbysroastbeefsammich.


7 thoughts on “inhaling sammiches

  1. I’ve found that putting an interesting Catholic twist on yoga has worked for me… in particularly anxious situations, saying the rosary and timing my breathing to the prayers has worked well. Inhale for the first half of the “Hail Mary” prayer, and exhale through the second half. The last time I did it I remember it was the day of the Lehman Brothers failure and stock market crash last fall, when everyone was convinced that we’d all be eating shoe leather in a few days. It helped me get through without my head exploding.

      • I haven’t taken yoga. I am not very flexible. I may have, however taken “toga” during my frat days… The alcohol makes the memories of those days hazy.

  2. omg arbys! can you please bring me an arbys roast beef sammich for my wedding present since we don’t have any here in nyc?? (rumors of one opening in brooklyn have remained rumors as they were planning to use a landmarked building (!) and obvi that means delays). kthnx!

    • unfortunately, the only arby’s close to me in houston is very skeevy. but really, sometimes an arby’s roast beef sammich is worth it.

  3. We use this all the time during productions. Breathing exercises center people and cleanse their mind. Also if you’re tired it will put you to sleep (a happy side effect in my opinion).

    • I guess I should practice more. Right now I find my mind wandering all over the place, even when I try to focus on my breath.

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