“I Can’t Hear Myself Breathe…”: How to Head Off Weirdness, Sadness and Madness

More mornings than not I find myself saying, “I can’t hear myself think,” as the dogs gambol about me, the television news confronts me, and our particularly vocal cat, Thelma, shrieks for more food.

Is it possible you have similar mornings?

After taking a few days off from my yoga practice (long flights/jet lag/knee fun) I noticed how happy I was to hear myself breathe.

Which is when it occurred to me that, “I can’t hear myself breathe,” is a far more important indicator of my state than, “I can’t hear myself think.”


Because your breath is the canary in the coal mine of your state:

When it’s short and shallow, anxiety, temper, or fear frequently lurk nearby.


When you take the time to notice it; to check in with—and regulate—it, you can (sometimes) head off weirdness, sadness, or madness before they overtake the situation.

If you agree, the next time overwhelm threatens, tell those around you, “I can’t hear myself breathe.”

Then step away and inhale…exhale….

P.S. This photo was taken at the Shiva temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia—a glorious spot where hearing myself breathe was essential to not tumbling down the steps.


For more specific ways to use breath to your advantage, take a look at, “How to Reset Your Mental Surge Protector”