Use the power of breath to create an incredible feeling of energy, clarity and focus through your body. Practising a regular, mindful breathing exercise can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.
Many people fail to breathe deeply when they feel tense, which is one reason they may feel zapped at the end of a stress-filled day. The general principles of correct breathing are to make it deeper, slower, quieter, and more regular. Doing so helps you force more oxygen into your cells, which slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and improves circulation, ultimately providing more energy and helping you to stress less.
With this exercise, we’re focusing on deep, diaphragmatic breathing. This means we are engaging our lower belly as we inhale and exhale. On the inhale, the belly should rise outwardly. On the exhale, the belly moves inwardly, towards the navel. These movements draw air into the lungs, and not just the upper lungs, as in chest breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing fills every part of your lungs, including the lower parts. These mindful deep breathes stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system to help feelings of calmness wash over your body, and triggers the part of your brain responsible for rational thought too.
Do this simple breathing exercise twice a day or whenever you feel yours stress levels rising…
- Exhale through your mouth with a whoosh sound to fully empty your lungs.
- Deeply inhale through your nose for a count of 4, hold for 7, exhale through the mouth for 8. Repeat for 4 breaths.