Breathing to Relax the Mind and Body
I would love you to take a moment and stop all that you are doing and pay full attention to your breathing…
- Is your breath shallow or deep?
- Does your stomach expand and contract?
- Do your shoulders stay still or rise up?
- Does your breath relax you?
I ask these questions as breathing is one of the most overlooked tools we can have in our proverbial toolkit to take care of ourselves. Very often when we get stressed, worried or anxious the breath becomes rapid and shallow. Consequently, your body gets agitated and a cycle ensues where you stay ‘stuck’ in feeling you are unable to cope.
Our breath helps take us out of the flight/flight stress response and into what is known as the parasympathetic nervous system or ‘rest and digest’. This ‘rest and digest’ state is your body’s natural state to be in as it can get on with the business of being! Remember we are human beings and not human doings 🙂
A simple breathing technique to help us relax the mind and body is to breathe out for twice as long as you breathe in.
- To begin, get yourself comfortable. If you are sitting place both feet on the floor or you can sit cross legged or lying down.
- Make sure the shoulders stay relaxed so no trying to pull them up towards your ears when you breath in.
- When you inhale, you want to take the breath in very slowly and notice the stomach expand outwards. Place your hands upon your stomach and notice that your hands get pushed outwards as you breath in.
- As you exhale, again do so slowly and notice the stomach contract back towards the spine. With your hands on your stomach you’ll notice they fall back.
- Now, inhale for a count of 4 and exhale for a count of 8.
- The breath out is twice as long as the breath in.
- Do this breathing technique for as little as one minute to begin to notice a difference.
It would be wonderful if you took 1-3 minutes out of every hour to stop and practice this breath method. It will do wonders for your body and your mind and will build a resilience in you to deal with stress, worry and anxiety.
How do you feel after trying this simple breathing technique? I look forward to hearing…