Are you breathing? 6 steps to achieve a state of calm
Updated: Jan 27
It sounds like a strange question - however, when we are stressed, anxious or nervous we seem to forget to breathe!
Let's look at the importance of the breathe, consciously deepening the breathing to promote a sense of wellbeing.
Living in a non-stop, plugged-in world, heavy with distractions and worries, makes it more challenging than ever to find balance and calm. Sometimes our best intensions of creating purposeful habits such as meditation and mindfulness, seem to be elusive.
We want a quick fix for everything.
Using another piece of technology or an app just isn't going to cut through your own self discipline. Now is a good time as any to reframe who you are - starting with your breath.
Set your intention:
"I want to be calm, confident and relaxed"
"I am in control of my mind, body and life purpose."
Now breathe, draw in a deep breath into the abdomen and allow a longer exhalation. This process of deeper breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which in turn:
. Reduces heart rate
. Supports cardiovascular and digestive health
. Calms the nervous system to enable you to manage stress responses
. Improves concentration which allows you to avoid feeling overwhelmed and to better manage tasks, and
. is a good preparation technique for a more restful sleep.
When you focus on your breath you shift your mind away from busy thoughts and distractions. You can then choose the thoughts that are positive, supportive and help you be at your best. Intentional breathing shifts you from reacting to situations where you whole body gets tensed up. Take a moment next time, when you feel yourself reacting, observe your body - where do you feel your muscles tensing?
. Tight chest
. Clenched fists or jaw - giving you headaches
. Neck and shoulders pushed upward
. Gut muscles tight and scrunched
Now, you have noticed this, slowly and consciously take six deep breaths.
With every in breath do one of the following:
1. Release the tenseness in your shoulders - sit up straight (then slowly exhale)
2. Unclench your fists or jaw muscles - exhale
3. Breathe fully into your abdomen and soften your belly, exhale
4. Relax your face muscles and put a gentle smile on your face, exhale
5. Let go of any tightness on your chest, exhale
6. Notice your heart rate has started to slow, continue with a slowed breath at your own pace.
Now observe your whole body and notice how you feel.
Repeat your chosen affirmation.
You are now ready to responding appropriately in challenging or emotionally upsetting situations. Or use this practice at anytime to refresh how you are feeling.
In health and harmony, Julie