I want to help you not just survive, but THRIVE in these crazy times. I’m sending you this daily dose of inspiration, because if we set our compass right, we can sail through this!
“Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment” – Thich Nhat Hahn
Tip # 39: Breathe
Try utilising the breath work technique of Box Breathing at regular intervals through the day. Even one minute each time will have a big impact on your state of mind and physical health.
This technique can heighten performance and focus, while also relieving stress or anxiety. Breathe through your nose for this exercise if possible, and focus on breathing deeply so that it makes your belly and lower ribs expand, not only the chest.
- Inhale for 4 seconds, letting the belly fill up like a balloon
- Hold the breath at the top of the inhale for 4 seconds
- Exhale through the nose for 4 seconds, fully emptying the lungs
- Hold the breath at the bottom of the exhale for 4 seconds
- Repeat 3-5 times
You can trace a box in your mind as you do it: up the vertical line as you inhale, across the top of the square as you hold, down the vertical line for the exhale, and across the bottom as you hold.
Box breathing emphasises control and allows your body to make full use of the air. The ratio is 1:1:1:1 and the length of the breath can be anything from a count of 4 to begin with, eventually getting longer. See what feels comfortable for you.
Focused breathing calms nerves and relieves stress by helping to regulate the autonomic nervous system. We know that diaphragmatic breathing (breathing into the belly) is linked to the nervous system and it brings us to that parasympathetic state which supports our immune system, digestion and ability to respond rather than react.
Breath work brings our awareness into the body and senses which helps to quiet the amygdala, the fear centre of the brain. It is essentially a form of meditation and helps to anchor us in the present moment.
It is very common wisdom to ‘take a deep breath’ when things are stressful. This technique, peppered through your day, is a powerful means of building up your resources for resilience and nourishing yourself so that you thrive.
Just Breathe, by Dan Brule
Hailed by Tony Robbins as the “definitive breathwork handbook,” Just Breathe will teach you how to harness your breath to reduce stress, increase productivity, balance your health, and find the path to spiritual awakening.
Big meeting jitters? Anxiety over a test or taxes? Hard time focusing? What if you could control your outcomes and change results simply by regulating your breath?