What is a simple small thing we can do today to experience mindfulness and release stress?
Yes, I said breathe.
Throughout the day, at any given moment, just stop and give yourself the gift of 5 consecutive deep breaths.
What is a deep breath?
When we breathe deeply, we breathe from our bellies. You may have heard the phrase “breathe from your diaphragm” our abdomen, sides and back literally expand at the same time. We become balloon like. The easiest way to feel the complete expansion is when you lie on your back, here you can actually feel your back press into the ground when you inhale. When we breathe deeply, our shoulders should stay down, not hike up to our ears. If you feel your chest rise and lower as you take in deep breaths, or if you feel your shoulders float up to your ears, you are not breathing from your belly. Most people tend to breathe with shallow breaths and breathe from their chest. It may take a moment to feel your abdomen, sides and back balloon be patient with it.
How to breathe deeply:
1. Feel Put your hands around your waist and feel what happens as you inhale. Do you feel your abdomen and sides expand? Do you feel your back expand as well? You can do this either lying down or standing up. It tends to be easier to identify when you are lying down.
2. Count As you inhale slowly count to four. This means you finish your inhale on four. Pause here at the top of your inhale and then begin to exhale as you slowly count to four in your mind. Pause here at the bottom of your exhale. This completes one breath cycle. On your next breath cycle, inhale and count to five, pause here at the top of your inhale and then begin to exhale as you slowly count to five in your mind. Pause here at the bottom of your exhale. Have 5 consecutive breath cycles. With each new breath cycle increase by one count, this means when you are on your 5th breath cycle you are inhaling for a slow count of eight, pause, and exhale for a slow count of eight.
3. Focus Be sure to focus just on your breath and the count. See if you can free your mind from excess wandering thoughts.
A few resources on diaphragmatic breathing:
Do you have a favorite breathing technique? If so, what is it?