Hello All! Today I want to discuss a simple thing you can do to help control your stress levels with regulating your breath.
Learning breathing exercises and how to recognize our patterns of breathe during our daily lives is an easy way to take control of our stress levels! When you are feeling anxious, angry or agitated our breathing rate increases and affects our ability to remain calm and regulate stress. Focusing on our breathe allows us to stay in the moment and not be wrapped in whatever emotion that is threatening to take over.
When you are first starting out it can be difficult to stay focused on the breathe so I recommend finding a quiet place to steal 5 to 10 minutes to yourself. You start just by relaxing, taking full but gentle breathes and noticing how your body reacts to air entering and leaving your body. I normally place my right hand on my heart and left hand on my stomach to feel my belly rise and fall as I take a breathe.
After a few gentle cleansing breaths I start my actual exercise. There a multitude of breathing exercises to help the mind stay in the present and control your stress levels. My go to is Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 Exercise.
● Place your tongue against behind your upper front teeth (you’ll keep it there the entire time)
● Exhale all the air from the lungs before you start
● Inhale quietly through your nose to the count of 4
● Hold your breath for the count of 7
● Exhale through your mouth to the count of 8, while making an audible ‘whoooosh’ sound.
● Repeat this cycle a total of 4 times.
If you are finding it hard to inhale/hold/exhale for that long feel free to shorten your counts-you can always add time back on once you feel more comfortable. If you get distracted don’t worry it’s totally normal- just find your way back to your breathe and start again.
This a great tool to have to help control your stress levels, practice mindfulness and even de-escalate emotional situations. If you are interested in learning other breathing techniques to help calm the central nervous system, set up a meditation session with Maria or come to one of our yoga classes. We can’t wait to relax with you!