“You can only take a breath in the present moment; not the past and not the future.”

Mindful awareness practices often begin by paying attention to breathing. One reason for this is that the breath is the bridge between our sympathetic (“fight or flight”) and parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) nervous systems. Slowing our breathing is one of the best and easiest ways to help us relax. The simple act of taking deep breaths, holding them for a few seconds, and slowly releasing them can help us feel less angry, agitated, or worried.

Another reason to start your practice with the breath is because we can’t take a breath from the past or from the future. Focusing on our breathing urges us to live in the present.

Our mind may like to remind us of all our past mistakes and to imagine the horrible things that could be coming down the pike. We are more likely to find peace if we focus on where we are “in the now,” and make it the best we can.

Then take a deep breath…hold it for a few seconds…and release into the present moment.

To get some practice with this, we invite you to spend three minutes with Brandon Yabko, as he guides you through a brief breathing practice: Three Minute Breathing Space.

Quit smoking

Do you smoke? Think about how the act of smoking uses the breath but results in the opposite of mindful breathing because it creates stress in the body. Smoking is detrimental to physical health and has a negative effect on your mental health and well-being. Check out this video to see the effects that smoking has on your mind and your mood.

VA’s free telephone quitline, 1-855-QUIT-VET (1-855-784-8838), offers tobacco cessation counseling to any Veteran who receives their health care through VA.

Marc Castellani, Ph.D., NBC-HWC, is the Whole Health Clinical Education Coordinator for the VHA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation.

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Published on Jul. 1, 2020

Estimated reading time is 1.7 min.

Views to date: 172


  1. Beverly English July 9, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    What help is out their for wives of veterans who have passed and need more money than $66 a month who is receiving in home care for disabilities??

    All your help is appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Beverly English (Wife of Victor English)

    • Robert Lewis July 16, 2020 at 4:08 pm

      It”s a shame that the Gove doesn’t take care of our wives when. we are gone. My wife suggested at each reenlistment that it might be best if I stayed in. Thank God.
      My wife took care of the children by herself while I was on extended patrols. She made sure they went to school, went to the doctors and did everything by herself that should have been done by the two of us.I cannot see how she did this.
      My wife managed to feed and clothe our family and still pay the bills. she got the car repaired when necessary and she still handles our finances.
      I am now 75 years old.I have been retired for 35 years. She still is on call from our three daughters and now helps with 9 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. In addition we raised 2 granddaughters after the death off a daughter.She still handles our finances. And now she has to assist me in most things as I have several health problems. But not enough to be completely disabled. If I was, she would continue to draw some of my retirement benefits. But since I was not completely disabled she will get nothing when I am gone!
      By taking care of things for us, which allowed me to do my job, I feel she served her country as did all the wives of all our servicemen. At times hare job was much harder than mine.
      I am so sorry for you and all our wives that nothing is done for you.

  2. Tim Nusbaum July 9, 2020 at 12:13 pm



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