I know reminding you to breathe may seem ridiculous, but most people do not breathe fully! Throughout the day, notice your breathing pattern and where you are holding tension in your body. Are you holding your breath? Scrunching your shoulders?
The effect the breath has on the mind, and therefore your stress levels, is extremely important. If the breath is quick and shallow your mind is going to move very fast. It will be harder to handle emotions and harder to metabolize stress, anxiousness, depression and anger. By changing the way you breathe, you can change the state of energy in the body and the state of relaxation in the mind.
If you are a shallow breather, you are only breathing into the upper part of the lungs. The upper lungs carry the receptor sites that activate the flight or fight response, also known as the acute stress response! By training yourself to breathe slower and deeper, you access the lower part of the lungs which activate the parasympathetic nervous system, the part that makes you calm and centered. Much better!
Here are some breathing exercises for you to try. They are super simple and take no time at all.
Left Nostril Breathing
Breathing through the left nostril has a calming effect on the mind and the nerves. It also activates the qualities of patience and letting go. So, if you are in a stressful situation or want to relax, close the right nostril with the right thumb and breathe slowly and deeply only through the left!
Try this technique before going to bed. You can also try lying on your right side when going to sleep. This will cause you to breathe mostly through the left nostril and your body will be in a more relaxed state so you can fall asleep easier.
Right Nostril Breathing
Breathing through the right nostril has an energizing effect on the mind. It helps to improve feelings of irritation, depression, and stressed mental and emotional states. It activates the qualities of strong will, perseverance, motivation and the ability to take action.
If you are tired, falling asleep and need more energy, close the left nostril with the left thumb and breathe slowly and deeply only through the right!
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Alternate nostril breathing helps to create a balanced state that is both relaxing and energizing. There are many variations to alternate nostril breathing but a simple way is to exhale and inhale through one nostril and then switch and exhale and inhale through the other nostril. Congratulations, you are actually really breathing now!
Next: Oil Your Skin