For several millennia, practitioners of meditation, yoga and monastic prayer have emphasized the incredible importance and mind-body benefits of proper breathing. However, it is only in the last few years that scientists have begun to make the very same claims.
Breathing is easy. So easy that our brains do it for us and we don’t have to even try. But when we get anxious, stressed out, angry, agitated and confused, our brains struggle to keep us breathing in the way our bodies and minds need to help us manage our distress.
So how do we help get our breathing back on track?
It’s simple and requires little more than using our awareness.
Just begin to notice your breathing: Notice your breath in and your breath out. Notice the movement of your stomach, moving like an ocean tide as you breath.
If it’s possible, begin to adjust your breathing so that your in-breath is a bit shorter than your breath out. For example: 5 seconds in, 7 seconds out. If doing this causes distress, simply go back to noticing your breath.
Allow your mind to do what it’s doing and work on not getting into a fight or struggle with it. Instead of wrestling with your thoughts, anxieties or frustrations, decide to give them a space to say what they will because they’re certainly going to anyway and frankly, you may not have much say in the matter.
This is conscious breathing. Do so for a few minutes. For as long as you need. The important thing is that you allow yourself these moments to simply breath and be where you are, in your body and in your mind.