Ready. Set. Breathe.
In today’s fast-paced world people are more connected to each other, work and activities than ever before. While good for business and efficiency, many people experience higher levels of stress than in the past due to this need to be accountable at all times (to work, friends and family).
Sometimes we need time to ourselves, downtime to allow us to recharge before we go again. This allows us to feel more at peace, more stable and will actually help us be more productive in the long-run. One of the most simple ways to slow down and begin to relax your mind and body is through deep breathing. Here are a few ideas that can help you make the most of deep breathing practice:
- Find a Quiet Place – Deep breathing can be good on the go for a quick relief, but finding somewhere that you can sit or lay down alone for a few minutes can help you take more of a break from all of the stress that comes with life. Practicing relaxation exercises in the same spot can also build positive associations with that place. Yes, this can become your “Happy Place.”
- Make Time – Being busy seems to be the fad these days so making time for our self-care has to be a conscious effort. Schedule in time for yourself like you would a meeting. Even if just for a few minutes, making yourself a priority reminds you (and those around you) that your needs are important too.
- Give Yourself Permission – Many of us actually feel guilty for relaxing or taking time for ourselves. Remind yourself that ultimately, everyone in your life will benefit from you being better balanced, more happy and more productive. So really, you’re doing this for your boss/friends/family/kids. 😉
- 4-4-8 – There are many kinds of deep breathing and finding one that works for you will be important (so that you will do it again). The essence of many of these is going to be slowing down each breath in and out and focusing on breathing from our diaphragm (in your belly area) rather than from our chest. My favourite kind of deep breathing is called 4-4-8 Breathing. It goes like this: You Breathe In for 4 Counts, Hold your Breath for 4 counts and Breathe Out for 8 counts. This ensures that you are taking longer, slower breaths and the counting helps to distract you from the racing thoughts that often come with today’s busy-ness.
- Practice – Relaxing is a skill. Many people do not realize that to “just relax” often takes conscious effort. But the good news is that, like other skills, it gets easier with practice so take a few minutes, or even a few seconds, to practice your deep breathing each day and you will likely find that not only does it become easier but that life becomes brighter! A quick practice in the morning sets you up for the day and a practice at night can help you prepare for bed as you transition from the long day to bedtime.
There are many benefits from this simple practice. So… Ready. Set. Breathe. 🙂