Today is the second post in our A-Z of wellbeing series. For the letter B, I chose to focus on breathing techniques. Now you may find this a crazy choice given that we all breathe every second of every day. If you have never read about the importance of breath work then I hope you find this post useful.
Breathing comes naturally to us. From the second we are born and we take our first breath, we continue to breathe without giving it much thought until we of course take our last breath.
But what if we could tap into our ability to breathe and use it to our advantage? Here’s how developing good breathing techniques can positively impact your wellbeing.
Don’t hold your breath!
As we go about our day to day lives we tend to pay no attention to our breathing pattern. It’s just something we do on autopilot. Breathe in, breathe out and repeat. Most of us do not use the full capacity of our lungs and only take very shallow breaths due to bad habits we have created over time.
According to inc.com bad posture and spending time hunched over desks prevents our diaphragm from contracting as it should. Our breathing technique should be to open our chests, stand tall with shoulders back and to breathe deep into our stomach.
When I was younger I used to attend dance classes, and throughout the routine I would hold my breath! In the moment, whilst performing I just couldn’t get into a healthy breathing rhythm. Looking back now, I’m sure that some of my poor breathing techniques were down to nerves. However the more I thought about it, the more anxiety I would feel and in turn hold my breath more!
Practice Good Breathing Techniques For Relaxation
I first came across the power of breath-work in my late teens, but it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I started to focus on my breathing for relaxation.
I find that now, when I’m caught up in a brain funk or I feel the need to pause and hit restart that the 4 4 4 breathing method is my go to wellness tool. This breathing technique is super simple and honestly, 5 minutes can work miracles when you need to recharge.
- Try and be alone. (I lock myself in the toilet if I have to!) Sit or stand, whichever works for you.
- Close your eyes if your comfortable doing so. Let all the air out of your lungs and hold your lungs empty for a count of 1, 2, 3, 4
- Deep breath in for 1, 2, 3, 4
- Hold the breath in your lungs for 1, 2, 3, 4
- Breath out for 1, 2, 3, 4
- Repeat for as long as you can spare. Open those eyes and feel rejuvenated.
There will be loads of other breathing techniques out there for you to try. Personally I like to keep things simple and the above method works for me. However if you have any others you would like to share with us, just post them in the comments below.
Deep Breathing For Pain Relief
As well as all the relaxing properties of breath work, I have found that deep breathing exercises are really effective with pain relief.
Migraines and headaches have plagued me since childhood, however I have found that by deep breathing and focusing on mindful breath work it can significantly reduce the pain. In some instances I have even been able to get rid of the pain altogether.
Please understand that I am in no way suggesting breathing techniques should be used over any medication or advice from doctors. I am merely sharing my own experiences with you. Always speak to your doctor if you have any health concerns.
For more information on other breathing techniques and the benefits of working on your breathe then you might like to check out this post here.
Don’t forget to read last weeks #wellbeingwednesday post here.
Also subscribe today for access to The Wishing Well full of FREE wellbeing resources!!