Inhale. Exhale. Relax.
Is the stress of the back-to-school period wearing you down? Why not try one of the easiest and most effective ways to ease tension and calm your mind, all in just a few cycles of breath.
Mindful breathing has been proven to bring the mind and body back into balance. It’s a simplistic yet highly effective method of easing tension, anxiety and stress, whatever the cause.
Best of all, you can do it any time, any place, and at multiple intervals throughout the day, as many times as you need.
There’s an easy technique to suit everyone’s needs, here are three that you can try.
This form of breathing is most commonly seen in infants. Adults unlearn this healthy breathing pattern, and resort to chest breathing. Belly or abdominal breathing improves air flow by more than 70%.
- Sit in a comfortable position, or if preferred, lie on your back on a soft surface
- Rest one hand on your belly, just above your navel and place your other hand in the middle of your chest
- As you take a slow deep breath in through your nose, allow the air flow into your belly, pushing your hand up
- Hold your breath for just a few seconds, then breath out through pursed lips, pushing your belly down
- Cycle this for 3 to 10 breaths
4-7-8 breathing technique:
Known as ‘relaxing breath’, this breathing pattern has been shown to have significant health benefits in those with anxiety or for those who have disruptions to their sleeping patterns.
- Once you’ve breathed out fully, slowly take air in through the nose for 4 seconds
- Hold the air in your lungs for 7 seconds
- Expel the air out of your lungs as forcefully as possible, over a period of 8 seconds
- Repeat the cycle 4 times
Breathing with visualization
When you think of something pleasant and enjoyable, it’s difficult to feel stressed or tense. Combined with breathing, it’s an effective way to relax and unwind.
- Sit or stand with your arms hanging gently at your side and close your eyes
- While you take a slow breath in over several seconds, picture and event or factor in your life that brings you much joy
- Hold that thought and breath slowly out through the mouth, allowing the sense of well being to flood your entire body
- Repeat 3 to 5 times
No matter what it is that is causing you stress and anxiety, there’s a technique that can help to ease the tension in just a few cycles of breath. For deeper relaxation, consider taking a short trip to the spa, where you’ll not only be surrounded by the ultimate tranquility of nature, but have access to a range of therapies proven to ease a tired mind, unwind a tense body, and promote an overall lighter sense of self.