Sometimes when we are most in need of self care, it can feel overwhelming to think about where to begin. I am the first to put pressure on myself to do it all, to do it right and to do it now. It can turn into such a painful cycle, wanting the relief of taking care of myself but compounding the pressure when I can’t do it all. Sound familiar? When I feel like I am back at square one, I return to the one thing that is free, portable, easy and brings me me immediate positive results–my breath.
The benefits of deep breathing are profound and include:
- Strengthens our immune system
- Improves our power of concentration
- Relieves pain
- Detoxifies our body
- Enhances sense of self and inner strength
- Releases tension and aids in relaxation
- Boosts energy
- Elevates mood
- Helps our digestive, circulatory, respiratory and lymphatics systems
Here are some simple instructions to get started.
- Get comfortable and put your hands on your chest and stomach.
- It’s important to learn to breathe from your abdomen rather than your chest. You may hear this referred to as “belly breathing.” Focus on your breath until you feel your stomach rise and fall more dramatically than your chest with each inhalation and exhalation.
- Breathe in through your nose, hold the breath for a few seconds and then exhale through your mouth. The time it takes to exhale should be about twice what it is to inhale.
- Do 4-8 breath cycles 1-3 times every day.
Value your breathing and the benefits it brings. Even a few minutes of slow, deep breathing a couple of times per day can make a difference in your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Even if you can’t see the whole “staircase” of self care yet, commit to your breath. Is there anything more powerful than realizing you carry the tool to strengthen your body, clear your mind, reduce your stress? My mantra for the day… Just breathe.