Want to know a secret? Learning how to breath, low and slow is one of the biggest wellbeing tools you can gift yourself.
I burnt out. Had I known my breathing was having a direct impact on my ability to manage stress things may have been different.
My breath used to be rapid, shallow and high in my chest, I was often hunched over a desk further restricting my breathing. I now know that breathing this way day in day out was activating my sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). I basically had a permanent on-switch to stress.
Why did no one ask me about how I was breathing as I did test after test to figure out what was wrong with me? I will never know, but I want to share what I have learned with you.
Discovering the power of my breath was life-changing. 70% of the waste that our bodies generate is removed by the breath,….yes 70%!
Ever thought about using your breath to energize you instead of a coffee? Or to help you sleep instead of a glass of wine or sleep aid? Or to remain calm when stress levels are reaching epic levels?
No? Not many of us have, and when you do, life will never be the same again.
Breathe Awareness and how to breathe
Take a moment to pause. Place a hand on your belly and one on your chest, close your eyes and breathe. What do you notice? Which hand moves most? If belly – amazing if not keep reading to learn more about the power of your breath.
Relearning to breathe deeply and freely from your diaphragm and your belly (yes, the way you did as a child) and not high up in your chest is one of the biggest gifts you can give to yourself now and into the future. It’s a life skill and it’s at your disposal every second of every day.
Shallow breathing high in the chest can activate the fight or flight response – our sympathetic nervous system or stress reaction. That thing that happens when you think you are in danger but it’s just another email!
Deep slow breathing activates our parasympathetic nervous system – rest and digest.
Every emotion has a corresponding breath! Take a moment to re-read that – every emotion has a corresponding breath! Noticing how my breathing changed in response to different life experiences such as stress and difficult work situations and then learning how to use my breath to support my health and wellbeing truly changed my world.
I continue to use breathing to consciously connect to myself – all of me, to remain calm, grounded even in the most stressful of times.
Sit comfortably, either in a chair, on your sofa, the floor wherever you chose, just make sure you are sitting upright with your back straight and your breathing is not restricted by your clothing (yip pop that button).
Breathe in deeply through your nose to a count of five allowing your belly to expand outward, feel your ribs expand as the breath slowly ripples up like a wave to your chest.
Exhale slowly through your nose to a count of six feeling the breath ripple in reverse, down through your chest into your diaphragm and ribs and your belly deflates like a balloon.
Repeat this breathing exercise for five minutes slowing increasing your practice to 20 minutes per day.
Gently open your eyes – how do you feel? Calm? Relaxed? Congratulations you just hit the reset button and calmed your nervous system – yes, it is that easy.
Becoming breath aware and practicing this daily for five minutes will become one of your tools to counterbalance this crazy fabulous ride we call life.
For more exercises and information download my workbook Breathe To Be and companion deck that you can put on your desk at work, your car, your refrigerator, anywhere you want to be reminded to breathe.