Inhale, Exhale

Have you ever tried to survive by only inhaling? Or only exhaling? You probably have and don't even realize it...

This piece comes via a spark from speaker, pastor, and author, Erwin McManus.

I was heading out for a walk as I needed to clear some mental space and I stumbled upon a teaching called “Exhale, Inhale,” so naturally, I was all ears. Do me a big favor before you read, and take a big breathe in, hold it, then exhale slowly and release your jaw, relax your shoulders and allow it to refresh you.

Most of us have one of two life experiences:

  • We give all we’ve got without ever filling ourselves back up
  • We try to soak up all we can and keep it inside afraid to let others negatively influence our space

When we experience the first, we are exhaling all day, every day. Have you ever tried half of breathing? It’s not exactly comfortable or possible. This often feels like “being emotional,” empathy, and frustration.

When we experience the second, it’s typically subconscious. We don’t realize that we’re doing it. We crave growth, but can’t seem to feel present enough to implement it. This usually feels like anxiety, going through the motions, and/or trying to “fix” ourselves. This experience is what happens when we only INHALE. We inhale all the knowledge and wisdom we can, but we then hold our breath instead of putting it back into the world.

What we need is a full breath of air.

So if you’re feeling challenged, unfulfilled, or exhausted… Look at what you’re doing more of – inhaling or exhaling. I know that whenever I feel anxious, it’s typically due to an imbalance between the two that shows its head via fear or overwhelm.

How can you balance?

Personally, I try to inhale a bit every morning so that I’m prepared to exhale throughout my day. I also have a bit of extra inhalation on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings. I am NOT always on point (or else I wouldn’t be able to write this piece), but I do my best to check in with myself and adjust accordingly.

So for you, I highly suggest taking stock of your breathing, then figuring out where you can add a touch more inhalation or exhalation in the form of a morning or evening routine, walks at lunch, or an evening with yourself.

It will work wonders on your ability to impact your world in the way you want to, and I hope this little exercise helps you do just that.

Much love,


The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


2 Powerful Practices For Women Who Want To Lead With Grace

by Martha Gelnaw

Don’t Panic! Breathe…

by Natalie Brobin Bonfig

It all starts with your breath, inhale exhale repeat

by Sonja Montague MacKay, Founder Wild Orange School of Wellbeing, Blogger, Breathwork Teacher

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.