Mindful breathing ... will be another reoccurring theme here.
I can NOT stress the importance of mindful breathing!
There is so much research and documentation about how powerful mindful breathing is,
and I am continually learning its benefits, as I practice it more and more in my every day life.
Deep breathing engages the body’s “relaxation response,” which lowers blood pressure, decreases heart rate and creates a feeling of calm. virginia women's center.com
Besides being a basic function of the body that allows us to live,
being mindful of your breath can help you in numerous situations.
Mindful breathing can help relieve anxiety and stress.
It can help you concentrate, like before a test or if you need to speak in front of the class?!
Taking some deep thoughtful breaths can help you make decisions, especially if you are feeling peer pressure or another outside pressure that goes against what you think is a better choice.
Deep breathing can help you if you are frazzled or scattered and not sure what to do. Just a moment's pause in which you follow your breath can help you figure out what you need to do next!
Deep breathing is especially helpful in a crisis situation! if you can focus on your breathing you can remain calm and then be able to make more grounded and helpful decisions.
Deep, mindful breathing is a free and effective tool that you can use anywhere, anytime, that has been proven to improved both physical and mental health.
Below are instructions for a 5 minute mindful breathing exercise and a link to the 'breath awareness podcast by Meditation Oasis (which I love all of their guided meditations)
so when you are feeling stressed or worried just breathe!!
1.) Find a comfortable and stable posture either sitting or lying on your back. Allow your back to be straight but not rigid. Let your arms and hands rest in a relaxed position.
Pause here and after each subsequent step.
2.) Close your eyes, if it feels comfortable. If not, soften your gaze.
3.) Bring your attention to the present moment by noticing how you’re feeling physically. Scan your body from head to toe and consciously try to let any tension slip away. Take a moment to notice your environment – any sounds you might hear in the background, what the temperature feels like in the room.
4.) After that, bring your attention to your breathing from three vantage points:
–First, notice the sensation of your breath going in/out of your nostrils or mouth.
–Second, as you breath, pay attention to the rise/fall of your chest.
–Third, notice the rise/fall of your belly as you breath.
5.) Pick the vantage point that seems to be the easiest for you to focus on. Follow the breath for its full duration, from the start to finish. Notice that the breath happens on its own, without any conscious effort. Some breaths may be slow, some fast, some shallow or deep. You don’t need to control the breath, you just need to notice it.
6.) If you find it helpful, you can say “1″ to yourself on each in-breath and “2″ on each out-breath.
7.) Each time your mind wanders away from the breath (and this will happen many times!), notice where it goes and then gently bring your attention back to the feeling of the breath going in and out.
When the mind wanders, you can make a mental note of it. For example, if you drift away from your breath to thinking about the future, you can say to yourself “planning, planning.” If your mind is pulled to a sensation of pain in your body, you can say to yourself “pain, pain.” Or, if you notice you’re focused on something worrisome from the past, you can say “worry, worry” and then gently bring your attention back to the present moment – noticing the breath.
8.) Your mind may wander hundreds of times or more during these 5 minutes – that’s ok and quite natural! Your “job” is to catch yourself when you’ve wandered and to gently bring your focus back to the breath every time, without judging yourself for how “well” or “poorly” you’re doing the exercise.
9.) Try to practice this exercise for 5 minutes (or longer if you’d like) every day, for at least one week. Notice how it feels to spend some time each day just being with your breath.