The breath is actually one of the most powerful tools that we have at our disposal. The breath can be used to self-regulate our emotions, generate energy to keep going, and improve our overall health. The breath has the ability to reduce our stress levels, increase our alertness, boost the immune system, improve digestion, improve our mood, as well as maintain and improve lung health. It’s amazing how something so simple that we don’t even think about could be so helpful!
There are a variety of breathing techniques that you can use. I will list a couple of techniques below. I encourage you to try each one and pick the one that works best for you.
- Box Breathing
- Release all of the air in your lungs by breathing out slowly.
- Breathe in through your nose slowly as you count to four in your head. Be aware of how the air fills your lungs and stomach.
- Hold your breath for a count of four.
- Exhale the air slowly as you count to four in your head.
- Hold your breath again for a count of four.
- Repeat this process for three or four rounds.
- Deep Breathing
- While standing or sitting, draw your elbows back slightly to allow your chest to expand.
- Take a deep breath through your nose.
- Hold your breath for a count of 5.
- Slowly release your breath by exhaling through your nose.
- Repeat this process as many times as needed.
- Lion’s Breath (This one is a little more silly but fun)
- Come into a comfortable seated position. You can sit in a chair, sit back on your heels or cross your legs.
- Press your palms against your knees with your fingers spread wide.
- Inhale deeply through your nose and open your eyes wide.
- Open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue, bringing the tip down towards your chin.
- Contract the muscles at the front of your throat so as you exhale out through your mouth by making a long “haaaa” sound.
- Do this breath 2 or 3 times.
No matter where you are or what is going on in the moment, you can always use the power of the breath to decrease the stress responses and improve your mood.
Contributed by Tara Trickler