Sometimes It’s Impossible to Breathe Normally

I travel frequently, so I’ve mostly tuned out the safety routines at the beginning of the flight. One line, however, always causes me to pause and think. Have you heard this before?

In case there is a loss in cabin pressure, yellow oxygen masks will deploy from the ceiling compartment located above you. To secure, pull the mask towards you, secure the elastic strap to your head, and fasten it so it covers your mouth and nose. Breathe normally. Even if the bag does not inflate, please keep in mind that oxygen is flowing. Please make sure to secure your own mask before assisting others.

I’ve highlighted the part that causes me to reflect.

Breathe Normally.

Yea, right!

If I’m on an airplane, and oxygen masks are necessary, I’ll not be breathing normally. I may still be breathing, but it won’t be normal. I’ll be breathing heavily…very heavily…if at all. I’ll be gasping for air even if the supply of air is plenty.

It’s a great reminder to me. In times of tremendous stress or pressure, I shouldn’t expect to feel normal. I shouldn’t expect to feel completely natural when life makes no sense. I can’t breathe normally, because nothing is normal about life as I currently know it.

What should I do during times like this?

Find my center of gravity – I have to find my grounding again. When life is in chaos, it’s important to cling to what makes sense. Obviously, my relationship with Christ is premier here. The more I can base my life on truth, the more naturally I can breathe.

Surround myself with the right people – Let’s face it; some people are encouragers and some are not. When you’re having trouble breathing anyway, why surround yourself with people who suck the life out of you? Find people who encourage and build you up and cling to them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; even professional help if needed.

Look for small wins – Even on the darkest days of life, there’s probably something you can celebrate. Look for the moments, experiences and memories you can praise. Try something again and rejoice in the minor victories. The road to further success begins with small steps taken repeatedly can consistently.

What do you do when you can’t breathe normally?

I’ve written about airplane oxygen masks before, and applied this script to leadership. Read that post HERE.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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8 thoughts on “Sometimes It’s Impossible to Breathe Normally

  1. My gut reaction, literally, when I can’t “breathe normally” is anxiety and nausea in the pit of my stomach. I can’t think clearly, begin to lose focus and head down the road to panic. You know, all the things a person shouldn’t do. This past year, I have been learning to keep this from going to far by reading some highlighted verses in Isaiah and by distracting myself by reading a good book. I also will write myself into a more calm frame of mind and sometimes exercise into one. All the while, I pray “help me Jesus.” I feel like He’s training me to be able to prevent the panic and anxiety and to truly “breathe normally” in the face of what feels like impending doom.
    Twitter: KariScare

  2. Wow, really had to focus on this one….I actually kind of panicked when thinking of the oxygen masks dropping….glad at I was 'at the house' when this happened and not on the plane! In fact, it made me FOCUS…so that is my word for the day….Focus…and breathe normally.

  3. Oh Babe…you wrote this just for me!! Know we are seeking to be in the center of God’s will but this has still been a tough week on me…missing you has made it even harder. Thanks…as usual…for pointing me back to TRUTH!! Glad we are doing this next adventure- together!!

    Proud of you Babe!!