Before introducing this amazing advert I want to reflect on breathing for a few moments.
The breath is such a great friend. By bringing our attention to the breath we necessarily bring our attention to the present moment. This is a very useful skill to develop, as at times our thoughts about the past and worries about the future can be the source of much unhappiness.
It is easy to assume we know what our breath is like. When we stop and bring fresh attention (beginner’s mind) to the breath we discover the small details that make each breath different. It can be a fascinating investigation.
By reminding ourselves that we are safe (mental reassurance) and choosing to bring our attention inward to the breath we engage the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is that part of our autonomic nervous system that is responsible for maintaining the basic functioning of the body – maintaining equilibrium or a balanced state. It complements the sympathetic nervous system whose job it is to get us ready for action in difficult situtations. For more information on the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system and how to activate the parasympathetic nervous system see this article by Rick Hanson (PhD).
The 3 minute video below by the Office of Road Safety is terrific for many reasons – not only is it set in Perth, it also encourages us to look at our hectic lifestyles and reflect on the consequences of living in this way. The Mindfulness based suggestions for living a more sane life are quite beautifully portrayed.