As we all start to get used to this (temporary) new ‘normal’ way of living I thought it would be useful to talk about breathing and to share a simple technique to help if you are experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety or tiredness. Emotions that, I’m sure, many of us are feeling at present. Just spending a few moments concentrating on our breathing can help us to feel calmer and more positive.
There are many different breathing techniques that you can practice but I’m going to give you a basic technique to try at home.
Why do we need to improve our breathing technique?
Most of us are shallow breathers most of the time. This means that we breath quite quickly, don’t take in enough oxygen and aren’t able to lower our heart rate which can contribute to feeling tense and tired.
What happens when we breathe?
When we take a breath in – our diaphragm moves down so our lungs can expand. We take air in through our mouth or nose and down through the windpipe to the lungs. It then passes through our blood vessels to the heart, which pumps oxygenated blood to ever part of our body. The deeper the breath, the more air and oxygen we take in to nourish and revitalise our body. Unfortunately many of us sit in a hunched position, wearing our shoulders as earrings!! Therefore our body is tight with tension. These things make it hard to breathe properly.
Whenever you feel stressed, tired, can’t sleep or feel under the weather etc., make a conscious effort to spend five minutes each day on some healing breath work. You can then increase it to several times a day.
These simple calming techniques below will help you to feel calm, grounded and lower your heart rate:
Stand up or sit up straight, feet firmly on the floor. Shrug shoulders right up to your ears and then push right down as far as possible. Imagine the top of your head is trying to touch the ceiling and gently move your neck from side to side. This should start to help release tension.
Place one of your hands on your stomach so that you can feel your breath and your body moving as you do this technique.
Breathe in for a count of 5, hold the breath for a couple of seconds, breathe out for 6. Keep it slow and steady. When you breathe in take it down to your abdomen and try to elongate your exhalation to 7 or 8 counts.
Lastly close your eyes and visualise your breath moving around your body – to your fingers and toes, head and shoulders etc.
Give it a try. Perhaps start when you first wake up and then before you go to bed. Or try it whenever you start to feel stressed or anxious. Your breath with naturally slow down after these exercises and you will instantly feel the benefits. The trick is to train yourself to become more aware of your own breathing and adapt it accordingly. Calming and healing breath is the answer to many things. I frequently talk to my clients and my own children about using these techniques.
It’s important to always remind ourselves that this current situation we are all facing will not last forever. We need to ride it out by listening to the advice we are being given and looking for the positives in each and every day.
Look after yourselves in both mind and body x