Breathing - we all do it. It’s something we take for granted. A bit like sleeping and eating, it’s an act we do with little thought - as if on autopilot.
But ask yourself this, are you ever …
Breathing too quickly
Just because you’re breathing doesn’t mean it’s not something you can’t get better at. And by better, we mean making it calmer and steadier.
The problem is many of us are simply breathing too quickly. According to Jessica Levine, a writer from Yoga Journal.com, most of us are guilty of this which is resulting in an increase in “stress hormones, heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, sweat production and anxiety”
Living in an age of constant communications doesn’t help either. Calls, emails, whatsapps, social media. It can sometimes feel a bit too much
But there is a solution to all of this noise and irritation:
If you haven’t come across this term don’t worry. It simply means controlled breath.
Controlling your breath is one of the most cost effective ways of reducing stress. Slower breathing has enormous benefits.
- It raises the level of carbon dioxide in the blood, which in turn can calm you down through lowering your heart rate.
- It can help stabilise your blood pressure, which will contribute towards feeling more relaxed and calm.
- It is also known to help relieve some causes of asthma too.
Now, we have established some of the benefits, let’s practise some controlled breathing. So first things first ..
Are you sitting comfortably?
Or maybe you’re lying down?
Now close your eyes.
Take in a slow deep breath (between 4-6 seconds) and make sure you expand your stomach . Hold your breath (for around 5 seconds) keep your core/stomach tense. Now comes the nice part, exhale slowly out. You’ll feel like you’re floating on a lovely cloud in the sky.
Try and do this exercise a few times. Do it in your lunch break, or at home. This type of breathing is a fantastic way to alter your mood. You’ll feel rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to tackle anything.
Another exercise you can do is known as progressive relaxation. This involves all the muscles in your body.
Firstly lie down flat, ideally on a bed. Close your eyes and slowly tense each muscle in your body. Start from your feet, then move to your knees, before progressing up to your back passed your shoulders, before finally arriving at your forehead.
While doing this maintain a steady flow of breathing. For instance, when you tense a muscle breathe in through the nose and hold for 5 seconds before slowly releasing. This will help release tension you might be feeling and help you relax.