10 Good Things About Breathing

After the success of my recent post 10 Points about Writing Ten Point Lists and The Ten Best Things About Lockdown I decided to try another ten point list. You may have guessed this from the title. You may also have guessed that I define “success” in a slightly more flexible way than the rest of the world. Twenty views and ten comments are a success to me, even if five of the comments are me replying to the other five.

I did briefly think of writing Five Ways in which Breathing is Over-rated but I find people like the positive stuff. I suppose that’s why my light-hearted articles on modern life are so popular. I say “popular”, see above for “success”.

So, here goes, Ten Good Things about Breathing.

One, blue is an unbecoming colour. It doesn’t suit our modern ideas about healthy complexions and modern make-up ranges don’t cater for it. According to arlingwoman, the correct term for the blue colour is cyanosis, which is far too good a word not to use, so I have come back to add it.

Two, dum spero, spiro, as I remarked recently,. Hope is good, and you need to breathe to have hope.

Three, It is better than the alternative. I have no particular religious beliefs. I may end up as part of the choir eternal, singing hymns whilst dressed in vestments of blinding white. Or I may spend an eternity of regret in a lake of fire. In one scenario I wonder who does the laundry and in the other I can’t help thinking that there won’t be any cold to aggravate my arthritis. Swings and roundabouts…

I may even come back as a dung beetle. You can never tell, though I feel my afterlife is likely to end with a short trip up a crematorium chimney. Whatever happens, I prefer breathing to the alternative.

Four, it gives me something to write about on a slow day.

Five, there are right ways to breathe and wrong ways to breathe, which gives rise to the possibility of controversy and more lists.

Six, breathing through the nose adds moisture, warms the air and allows better use of the oxygen you breathe. The presence of a nose also gives you somewhere convenient to perch your glasses and avoids an unsightly hole in the middle of the face. Breathing through the mouth gives rise to a huge list of problems and makes you look like an unlikely candidate for a top academic job.

Seven, deep breathing is another of those health subjects you can discuss at length. It will cure many of my health problems and improve my posture.

Eight, deep breathing is also bad for you . giving hope to editors who rely on sensational negative headlines for a living.

Nine, it’s something that is, on balance, good for you, and takes no effort. I shouldn’t have searched for more information, because I turned this up. Quite clearly, the person in question hasn’t lost the knack of breathing automatically, as one of the answers points out, or she would have died in her sleep on the first night, but it does show that it’s possible to worry too much.

Ten, it serves to fill a list, to swell a progress, to start a scene or two. See point 4, or for the more highbrow amongst you try this.

However, as you read the highbrow section, remember that T S Eliot is an anagram of Toilets – life has a habit of bringing things down to my level. Perhaps life would be better if all great men had names that were anagrams.

Bonus eleventh point – it’s free. The government can’t tax it, Sky TV can’t charge for it and breathable air is still widely available. Now I’ve said that just watch it all go wrong.

I couldn’t fit that into the ten point list without altering the structure, and there’s something unfinished about lists that have strange numbers of points. Five, ten and twelve seem fine, three seven and nine aren’t bad, but I’m vaguely unsettled by others.


Fresh air – still free! Get yours while it lasts.

20 thoughts on “10 Good Things About Breathing

  1. charliecountryboy

    Classic you 😂😂 I am also a big fan of breathing, it’s weird how many tastes we share. I found other similarities in ten point list. Sadly I recently discovered through Yoga I have been breathing incorrectly for the last 63 years. Hopefully I haven’t done too much damage 😀

    1. quercuscommunity

      Yes, as a self-taught breather I was surprised to find there was more to it than I thought.

      You seem to have done alright despite the deficiencies in your technique, I never did manage to run and breathe at the same time. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Monday, a Day of Promise | quercuscommunity

  3. arlingwoman

    Well, if you’re feeling anxious, Jon Kabat-Zinn says, if you’re breathing, it’s really okay. That term for turning blue is cyanosis. Someone with blue lips, say from an asthma attack, is cyanotic. Just a little tidbit from my over-filled with useless info mind…I have always liked Prufrock. It’s really kind of gripping. And I read the Four Quartets every few years. They’re just wonderful.

  4. tootlepedal

    Seeing as how the whole world. including us, is made up of second hand atoms, the likelihood of you coming back is more or less guaranteed. You will probably be well distributed and find yourself voting for six different parties at the same time. In the meantime, take my advice and keep breathing. Your readers need you.

    P.S. I love T S Eliot so thank you for getting me to read J Alfred again.

    1. quercuscommunity

      Yes, I’m fascinated by the thought I may contain atoms of Julius Caesar, Wat Tyler and Napoleon, plus several billion people I’ve never heard of.

      As for the Eliot – glad to be of service. I re-read it before posting and it was surprised to find it was better than ever, Maybe I am growing more Prufrockian with age.

  5. Lavinia Ross

    Tai Chi is a wonderful system of relaxation, slow moving and powerful, building inner and outer strength. My instructor, way back when, was from Thailand. She taught it to people in nursing homes, as well as her regular classes, tailoring moves to what each individual patient was able to do. Her general philosophy was, “Do what you can do.”

    The dung beetle was an interesting choice of a possible next life. 🙂

    1. quercuscommunity

      After years in farming and gardening dung is my second home… 🙂

      By coincidence, Julia has just been looking at some tai-chi and telling me it could be for me. Off to pretend to hug a tree now…

  6. Laurie Graves

    During this awful time in our country, I have had to take many deep breaths. And then have a glass of something nice, just as your photo illustrates.

    1. quercuscommunity

      Yes, I’m feeling the need to relax at the moment. Must try harder at being laid back and pleasant. You do have a lovely place to sit and sip from your glass. 🙂


Leave a Reply