Just BreatheAugust 7, 2018
Take a breath. Your breath has the power to energize, calm, and heal — but harnessing that power requires intention and practice. I encourage you to just breathe for greater health and well-being.
“He lives most life whoever breathes most air.” ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“Breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on Earth.” ~ Sanskrit proverb
Breathing for Happiness & Health
Breathing: It’s the first and last thing we do in life. The average person takes up to 23,000 breaths a day … and because breathing happens automatically, it’s easy to take for granted. But nothing is more important — breath literally keeps us alive!
Did you know there’s a “right way” to breathe, a way that has a positive impact on you health? Here’s the basic idea: Inhale through the nose, taking deep breaths that fill your belly. Then exhale longer than your inhale. Pause, then repeat, as rhythmically as possible.
Natural Stress Relief
Learning to control your breath may be the secret to better health and a more peaceful and productive mind. Practicing proper breathing techniques can reverse your body’s response to stress. It slows your heart rate, lowers your blood pressure, diffuses your emotional reactions, and calms your body and mind.
Your breath is impacted by your thoughts and emotions and visa versa. We know this intuitively, which is why when people are anxious, angry, or fearful, we invoke the classic advice: “Take a deep breath!”
Fuel for Your Brain
Mindful breathing has also been shown to increase mental clarity. When you’re holding your breath, or your breath is shallow, your brain receives less oxygen — leaving you fuzzy-headed, dizzy, or headachey. The next time you’re having trouble expressing yourself, thinking through a complex situation, or making an important decision, take slow, deep breaths to give your brain the oxygen it needs.
The benefits of proper breathing are well worth the investment of slowing down and practicing this most basic, life-giving activity. Mindful breathing is free, available 24/7, and it’s literally right under your nose.
So pause … focus … and just breathe!
Tips to Focus & Improve Your Breathing
- Be intentional. To harness the power of your breath, commit to spending a few minutes each day connecting to your breath, through meditation or just sitting quietly. Notice how your breath feels as it moves in and out of your body.
- Notice your triggers. We all have different situations that cause us to shorten or stop breathing. Your triggers might be rush hour traffic, confrontations, or certain people. Calm, even breathing will help you navigate tricky situations with greater steadiness.
- Connect with your breath. Place a hand on your chest when you feel the need to reconnect to your breath. Connecting with the rise-and-fall of your chest helps slow your breathing and regain control over your body and mind. Focusing on your breath creates “breathing room” to self-regulate, think, create, and be your best self.
- Practice mindful breathing. The next time you feel a wave of anxiety, stress, or anger come over you, stop and use the “4-7-8 breath technique.” Breathe in for four seconds; hold for seven seconds; breath out for eight seconds. This helps calm your parasympathetic nervous system and counteract rising adrenaline.
Leap Forward Coaching offers a system and support for making positive life changes consistent with your values and goals. As your coach I am dedicated to helping you improve your well-being and reach your fullest potential.