Do you know how to breathe?
You know what I mean.
Of course you know how to stay alive by breathing, but I mean do you REALLY know how to breathe?
She taught me to breathe to let go of pain. To get through things. To make room for joy. To relieve stress. To think clearly. To get unstuck. Or never get stuck in the first place.
Breathing for Stress Relief
Every day in our lives we experience stress. Whether it’s at work or at home, there are so many things we have to do and people to take care of that sometimes we forget to slow down and take care of ourselves by doing this basic thing.
Breathing is quick, free, and an effective way to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve the immune system, and has been used to stop bad habits.
If you feel stressed, check your breathing.
You’re probably breathing in a very shallow fashion, or maybe even holding your breath.
Breathing helps you have a baby.
Breathing helps you exercise. I sometimes breathe so heavy when I’m lifting weights that I fog up the mirror in front of me!
I even read a story recently about a woman who said that singing helped her heal herself from fibromyalgia. Her thought was that it was because she was finally breathing deeply.
Do you have a nervous habit? Like chewing your fingernails, or biting the inside of your mouth, or tapping your fingers, or grinding your teeth?
When you’re doing that thing, you’re probably not breathing properly.
The trick is to remember to breathe.
Creating visual reminders might help. Post-It notes around the house might work.
Once you get in the habit, you’ll find it amazingly helpful.
I’ve taught my kids how to breathe deeply. Sometimes if they are arguing or getting worked up with each other, I will sit one of them down and breathe with them. I remind them to always breathe in through their noses. And when under stress, to breathe out slowly.
Breathing puts us in our right mind.
It oxygenates our brain and takes us out of our “reptilian” mind, the one that wants to fight or run away.
How to Breathe for Stress Relief
Here are a few tips to help you breathe deeply:
1. Sit or lay down in a quiet place.
2. Take a deep breath in on a slow count of three. Take this breath in through your nose, not your mouth. And breath from your abdomen instead of your chest. Feel your abdomen filling like a balloon and puffing out as you breath in.
3. Then breathe out for a slow count of three through your mouth. As you exhale, feel your abdomen going back to normal as it loses it’s air.
4. Stop for a quick 3 second count.
5. Repeat deep breathing for a count of at least ten times to help refocus, calm and reenergize your body.
Do you practice deep breathing? How does it help you in your everyday life?