When we are stressed our mind can play some tricks on us. The stressful perception that we think about usually is not even close to the reality that is actually happening. There was a recent very stressful situation that I was involved in and for the life of me I wanted out. Imagine, a kicking and screaming child in the middle of the cereal section at the grocery store. The stress level and people involved were more than a notion. Before things went too far, I had to stop myself and step back. After some reflection and some serious shift in perspective I realized that I could change the whole situation by how I choose to react. I also realized that these people were my biggest teachers. I took a step back, started to breathe again and prayed. This created a beautiful experience and a huge change. Something in me shifted, the people were no less crazy and dramatic, but I was able to complete what I had to do without the worry and anxiety. I finished my portion of the project with the group and didn’t “play” the drama game. There are many stressful situations that will come up in life, we can help ourselves by simply breathing.
This week for Mindful Mondays, I am going to share three breathing techniques that will help you stay calm.
1. Counting Breaths
Counting Breaths is a simple technique that keeps your mind focused. With this exercise, count every time you exhale. When you pay attention to your counting, the stress will decrease and you will feel less rushed.
Give it a try:
Start by taking a few deep breaths. Focus on the exhale and concentrate on breathing. Feel free to close your eyes while you are practicing this exercise.
As you continue to take deep breaths start to count to yourself everytime you exhale. Try it for five breaths.
Begin a new cycle and deepen your breathing. Be sure to stay present and focus on your breathing. If something enters your mind, try your best to release it and let your breathing create the clarity. You can also say an affirmation that helps you focus.
Repeat this cycle four times or more.
2. Belly Breathing
Sometimes called abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing, this exercise is great because you are clearing your mind and cleaning your lungs. Belly breathing is known for releasing anger, pain and helps to increase the feeling of relaxation.
Give it a try:
Place your right hand over the center of your chest, and your left hand over the center of your stomach and take a slow deep breath in. Be sure to empty your lungs fully on your out-breath to encourage the next breath in to deepen.
After you inhale, exhale through your mouth, letting the breath out slowly and completely.
Repeat four times, until you have completed five cycles of deep refreshing abdominal breathing.
3. The Calming Breath (My favorite)
This technique is breathing and holding your breath. It works great because it helps your heart rate slow down if it is pacing because of stress. This exercise also helps if you are feeling upset or irritable.
Give it a try:
Take a deep breath inhale counting to four. Hold your breath for two counts and then release slowly for the count of eight through pursed lips.
Take a deep breath in for the count of four (count one thousand, two thousand, three thousand, four to set a slow and steady pace), then hold your breath for the count of two, and release slowly through slightly pursed lips for the count of eight.
This breathing exercise can quickly help you gain a sense of clarity and control.
Do you practice breathing exercise?
Peace and blessings,