The All Important Breath

A Stress Relief Self Care Tool For The Holidays

With the increasing stress of the holiday season, extra demands personally and in everyone’s working life, it’s important to take time to stop, take stock of yourself, and simply breathe.

The majority of individuals use only 1/3 of their lung capacity; we have forgotten how to breathe fully.  People are often unconscious to their breath, letting the chaotic rhythm of life dictate the rhythm of the breath.  When our bodies are under a lot of stress, or we’re deeply concentrating we often hold our breath, or revert to rapid shallow breathing, which in turn creates more internal stress on the body and the mind.

Only when you’re breathing fully is your body actually capable of responding positively to stress.  Taking a simple full deep breath helps a person to relax, decrease their stress, and calm their mind.  My best advice for the holidays is to keep breathing; something you can always rely on is your breath!

How to Breathe for Relaxation: The Full Resting Breath Technique

  1. Sit in a comfortable position, with your back straight – this allows for a greater ease in your breathing.
  2. Inhale slowly, through your nose – breathing deeply and consciously
  3. Take 5 seconds  – first fill the lower part of your lungs, feeling your abdomen push out as you inhale, bring the breath to the middle of your lungs feeling your ribs expanding, now into your upper chest – the upper part of your lungs
  4. Slowly begin your exhale to a count of 5, allowing the air to leave from your upper chest, your rib cage, and now slowly pulling your abdomen in to hug your spine – allowing your body to rid itself of any stale oxygen in the bottom of your lungs
  5. Briefly pause after the exhale, and allow the next inhalation to begin
  6. Repeat steps A to E at least 5 times in repetition, 3 times a day
  7. If it helps, while introducing this breath into your body, do so with your eyes closed and simply concentrate and feel the inflow and outflow of your breath, if you mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to your breath.

Full resting breath as described above provides your body with the following benefits

  • Purification of the blood stream
  • Strengthens the lungs, thorax and abdomen
  • Increases resistance to colds
  • Calms the nervous system, calms the mind
  • Aids digestion
  • Increases confidence
  • Helps to lift depression

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