‘Take a deep breath’ is excellent advice when you need to calm down or gather your thoughts.
We are programmed to prepare for fight or flight (in times of stress).
Our breathing alters to becoming fast and shallow.
By slowing down the way we inhale and exhale we are forcing our physiological response to become a much more positive one.
The key: Be aware of how you are breathing.
An excellent way to increase this awareness is to practise some breathing exercises on a regular daily basis.
Here are 3 more to try:
- Breathe and sigh. Take a deep breath in and then release it with a loud sigh. Repeat 6-10 times.
- 4-7-8 breathing. This is a well-known breathing practice that claims to improve sleep, mood and stress levels. As it is free, easy and with no side effects it may be worth a try! Take a breath in through your nose for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, then release it via your pursed lips for 8 counts. Repeat 4 or 5 rounds.
Do this sitting down in case you feel a little lightheaded.
- Nostril breathing. This is again a very well-known practice.
Using one hand place your forefinger and middle finger on your 3rd eye chakra (which is between your eyebrows on your temple. Start by blocking one nostril with your thumb and inhale, swap so that you now block the other nostril with your ring finger and exhale.Stay like that while you inhale (through the same nostril) then block the other nostril with your thumb and inhale and exhale. Swap to block the other nostril with your ring finger and inhale/exhale.Repeat this pattern for a minute or so.
Practise these techniques at least twice a day or whenever you are feeling tense, stressed or can’t sleep.
You may be surprised at the difference it makes.
Let us know how you get on with these? Try them for a week and tell us below about any difference you notice.
Watch out for more great exercise and lifestyle tips from Kris Tynan next month.