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Just Breathe

Today’s challenge is an easy one.  So easy you might be tempted to skip right over this post (Don’t leave!  I promise you will be amazed). Today we are going back to basics.  Today we are talking about breathing.  I can hear your mind spinning as I type,  ‘”Believe me, I know all about breathing, I know it is good for me, I know it is a stress reliever, and I know I do it without even thinking”

But given all of that knowledge–how often do you actually BREATHE.  I mean big deep belly breaths–not the wimpy chest filling breathes but BELLY breathes.    Sadly, our culture doesn’t  know how to breathe.  As a part of many of my workshops, I will ask participants to take three deep breaths.  Inevitably they sit up nice and tall and push their chest out and suck their belly in. That is chest breathing, not belly breathing and if you do too many chest breathes you will get light headed. 🙂 Belly breathing allows your body to get the necessary oxygen to reduce stress and help you relax quickly.

So let’s do it together. Right now.  Stop what you are doing and let’s breathe.

  • Get comfortable.
  • Put your feet on the floor.
  • Feel your feet and your hands.
  • Shake off the day and get present in your body.
  • Notice any pain in your shoulders?  Your head hurting?  Is your chest tight?
  • Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach.
  • As you breathe in through your nose the hand on your belly should move out further than the hand on your chest.
  • Hold the breath for as long as comfortable.
  • Exhale through your mouth, contracting your stomach muscles to slowly push all the air out.
  • Repeat this exercise 3 times.
  • Now pay attention–is there any tightness? Any expansion? Any pain?

Honestly, I TRY to do this exercise a few times a day.  And I am ALWAYS amazed at how much better I feel when I take the time to take three deep breaths.  It is something SO simple that can reduce your stress.  It is truly back to basics.  Sometimes it is just helpful to keep it simple.  No matter your situation, stress, concern, transition three deep breaths is a great place to start.

Photo Credit:  Mae Chevrette via Flickr

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