It happens automatically, without even thinking about it – about 25,000 breaths day in fact.
But are you really breathing?
Place both hands lightly on your belly. Exhale ALL the air out your lungs through your nose. Now inhale (through the nose) slow and strong right down into your belly, pushing your hands softly outward.
Exhale again, all of that air. Inhale thoroughly. Keep moving your hands with your breath, up and down, up and down.
NOW you’re breathing!
Besides keeping you alive, another major use for breath is diffusing stress and relaxing body and mind.
“Practicing 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.”
Since breathing is something we can control and regulate, it is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind. Deep breathing is like a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it, but gains in power with repetition and practice.
One of my favorite breathing exercises to reduce stress and calm anxiety is the The 4-7-8 Method. The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.
To get set up:
Sit in any comfortable position
Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. (no need to apply pressure, just gently place the tongue on the tissue.)
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. Do this for four counts breath cycle
- Hold the breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale out of the nose for a count of eight.
- Repeat 4 times.
Do it at least twice a day. No more than four breaths at one time.
This method can be helpful before you react, a job interview, difficult discussion. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension or stress. Use it to help you fall asleep.
Leave a comment below, & lets us know if you liked this method. Don’t forget to tag your pictures #salustribe on Instagram!
Denise & Emily