Jan 9, 2019 by


With increasing demands on our time and attention, many people find themselves in a state of chronic stress, which leads to anxiety and depression and can cause a host of health issues related to our gastrointestinal system and cardiovascular system.  In addition to this, our minds have a natural inclination to wander.  Spontaneous mind wandering is typically associated the default mode network (DMN), i.e., self-reflective states that contribute to negative processing of the past, worrying/fantasizing about the future, and disruption of primary task performance.  In addition, when we have no time to reflect upon our experiences, we are often internalizing emotions that can put us in the fight/flight/freeze state, often unbeknownst to us until we have a physical manifestation of some kind.  This means that our sympathetic nervous system is activated.

Breathing is your body’s natural way of calming your sympathetic nervous system and achieving homeostasis. Focusing on your breath also brings your attention back to what you are directly experiencing in the present moment and is therefore an important part of any mindfulness practice.

There are many breathing techniques, so try a few and see what works for you.  Here are some examples:

Breathing Exercises: 

1.    Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and practice taking deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the              mouth, making sure you are breathing from your abdomen and not your chest (hyperventilating).  Notice with the              out breath, which is often longer than the in breath, you feel a sense of relaxation, as if stress flowing out of you.

2.  4-7-8 Breathing: exhale completely through your mouth; close your mouth and inhale through your nose to a mental        count of four; hold your breath for a count of seven; exhale completely through your mouth to a count of eight.

3.   Four Square Breathing: breathe in through your nose to the count of four; hold your breath for four second; release           through your mouth for four seconds and do this four times.

4.   Alternate-nostril breathing: hold your right thumb over your right nostril to close off airway; inhale slowly through            your left nostril until your lungs are full and hold for four seconds and release air through left nostril.  Plug the left              nostril with your pinkie and perform the same action, breathing through your right nostril.

5.   Take a three-minute breathing space whenever you feel overwhelmed, upset or too distracted to focus on the task at          hand.  This will instill a sense of well being and groundedness and will help replenish your energy.



Related Posts


Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *