‘Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.’ ~Etty Hillesum
Anyone can use the following technique; you don’t need to be a Buddhist, into yoga or meditation…this technique is for everyone, and it is easy…with some practise!
When we become stressed, anxious, worried or angry our breathing is affected; we breathe more quickly, in a more shallow way and we often hold our breath without knowing it. The body is gearing up for danger; to run away of to fight. This creates a sense of panic and then we continue to breath in this unhelpful way…the negative cycle continues. Learning to control your breathing will help you to control your thoughts will in turn will help you to control your breathing…this is a positive cycle.
When we are relaxed our breathing automatically supports our wellbeing. We will breathe more slowly and more deeply into the bottom, larger part of our lungs. The bottom part of our lungs are bigger and have more blood vessels therefore we get much more oxygen from here. This helps us remain in a calm, relaxed state. When we are in this state we are more likely to think rationally and logically without over-reacting out of an emotionally charged state.
The first and most important step in making changes in yourself is awareness. Next time you are feeling a little worried or anxious notice how rapidly you are breathing, where are you breathing out of – your nose or your mouth, put your hand over each to check. The ideal is to always breathe though your nose, many of us don’t, so don’t worry, just remind yourself to close your mouth! Equally, next time you are relaxed notice how slow and controlled you breathe.
Conscious breathing is just that – being fully conscious or aware of how you are breathing. Using it as a stress management strategy is very powerful, but equally use it to enhance your wellbeing by being in a calm state more often.
Here is my simple exercise to get you into this positive habit…
- Focus on your breathing becoming conscious of the movement and sound
- place one hand on your abdomen and on your upper chest, breathe normally and notice how your hands move
- now, take deeper breaths making sure that you are breathing in from your nose and fully breathing from your abdomen and not just your chest – both hands should move equally
-Feel your neck, back and shoulders relax down, Try closing your eyes to help you focus
Extending your exhalation
Extending the time of your exhale can help you to relax more deeply and quickly – the extended exhalation empties your lungs more fully, so you will inhale more fully too, this helps oxygenise the body, reducing stress
- take some deep nasal breaths
- now, breathe and count the inhale breath to 3, count the exhale breath to 6
-practise increasing the amount of breaths, by no more than one or two breaths, double for the exhale
- Why Breathwork Matters: Breathing Allows Your Mind To Liberate Itself From Ego (deretornoacasa.wordpress.com)
- Relax! (fibromodem.wordpress.com)
- Don’t Wait to Exhale (massageenvy.com)