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Trick to reconnect the body & mind

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

So if you have been following our posts you would know I'm a promoter of simple small do-able actions. So stick with me here for a few minutes. So when I am personally experiencing stress, anxiety, or fatigue my go to trick has to be simple and quick or else I often don't take the time to do it. So I make the same suggestions to my clients you have to find what works for you and I won't lie, when breathing exercises were first suggested to me in a trauma response meeting, I blew it off, thinking it was hokey and would never work for me. But I then began to learn the science behind the breathing exercises and the physiological effects the power of breath can have on the body. So for me this was a turning point in my perception of breathing exercises and giving them a shot. I instantly realized under typical conditions that by controlling my breathing I could control my heart rate, heart beat and even blood pressure. Breathing exercises was my new way of reconnecting my body and mind and allowed me to have a big impact on my stress, anxiety, and energy levels. Who knew just by controlling my breathing I could create such a calming affect on my body. As you know I always bring to the table a mix of science and experience, and I wouldn't recommend the breathing exercises below if I didn't think they worked. However, I have learned that it's a practice like anything else, as you are working on using the mindfulness to control the body, and I will say this is something that will improve the more you do it and you will find the technique that works best for you and your current mindset.

Deep Breathing is a great way to reconnect the body and the mind. Your breath is a powerful tool to ease stress and make you feel less anxious. Some simple breathing exercises can make a big difference if you make them part of your regular routine. As you may have read in another post on energy management, ideally the body need a rest break every 90 minutes. So this is something you could easily do anywhere regularly to help give your body what it need to run optimally. The way you breathe affects your whole body. When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax. Thus, breathing exercises are a good way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress.

There are lots of breathing exercises you can do to help relax. The first exercise below—belly breathing—is simple to learn and easy to do. It's best to start there if you have never done breathing exercises before. The other exercises are more advanced. All of these exercises can help you relax and relieve stress.

Deep Belly Breathing

Most people take short, shallow breaths into their chest. It can make you feel anxious and zap your energy. With this technique, you'll learn how to take bigger breaths, all the way into your belly. Belly breathing is easy to do and very relaxing. Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or relieve stress.

  1. Get comfortable. You can lie on your back in bed or on the floor with a pillow under your head and knees. Or you can sit in a chair with your shoulders, head, and neck supported against the back of the chair.

  2. Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.

  3. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Let your belly fill with air letting your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.

  4. Breathe out through your nose or through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.

  5. As you breathe in, feel your belly rise. As you breathe out, feel your belly lower. The hand on your belly should move more than the one that's on your chest.

  6. Take three to ten more full, deep breaths. Breathe fully into your belly as it rises and falls with your breath.

  7. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

Next steps

After you have mastered belly breathing, you may want to try one of these more advanced breathing exercises. Try all three, and see which one works best for you:

  • 4-7-8 breathing

  • Roll breathing

  • Morning breathing

4-7-8 breathing

This exercise also uses belly breathing to help you relax. You can do this exercise either sitting or lying down.

  1. To start, put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest as in the belly breathing exercise.

  2. Take a deep, slow breath from your belly, and silently count to 4 as you breathe in.

  3. Hold your breath, and silently count from 1 to 7.

  4. Breathe out completely as you silently count from 1 to 8. Try to get all the air out of your lungs by the time you count to 8.

  5. Repeat 3 to 7 times or until you feel calm.

  6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

Roll breathing

This exercise helps you to develop full use of your lungs and to focus on the rhythm of your breathing. You can do it in any position. But while you are learning, it is best to lie on your back with your knees bent.

  1. Put your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your chest. Notice how your hands move as you breathe in and out.

  2. Practice filling your lower lungs by breathing so that your "belly" (left) hand goes up when you inhale and your "chest" (right) hand remains still. Always breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Do this 8 to 10 times.

  3. When you have filled and emptied your lower lungs 8 to 10 times, add the second step to your breathing: inhale first into your lower lungs as before, and then continue inhaling into your upper chest. Breathe slowly and regularly. As you do so, your right hand will rise and your left hand will fall a little as your belly falls.

  4. As you exhale slowly through your mouth, make a quiet, whooshing sound as first your left hand and then your right hand fall. As you exhale, feel the tension leaving your body as you become more and more relaxed.

  5. Practice breathing in and out in this way for 3 to 5 minutes. Notice that the movement of your belly and chest rises and falls like the motion of rolling waves.

  6. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

Practice roll breathing daily for several weeks until you can do it almost anywhere. You can use it as an instant relaxation tool anytime you need one.

Caution: Some people get dizzy the first few times they try roll breathing. If you begin to breath too fast or feel lightheaded, slow your breathing. Get up slowly. Listen to your body, you will know when you have done too much.

Morning breathing

Try this exercise when you first get up in the morning to relieve muscle stiffness and clear clogged breathing passages. Then use it throughout the day to relieve back tension and stress.

  1. From a standing position, bend forward from the waist with your knees slightly bent, letting your arms dangle close to the floor.

  2. As you inhale slowly and deeply, return to a standing position by rolling up slowing, lifting your head last.

  3. Hold your breath for just a few seconds in this standing position.

  4. Exhale slowly as you return to the original position, bending forward from the waist.

  5. Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

Even More Advanced: Breath Focus

While you do deep breathing, use a picture in your mind and a word or phrase to help you feel more relaxed.

  1. Close your eyes if they're open.

  2. Take a few big, deep breaths.

  3. Breathe in. As you do that, imagine that the air is filled with a sense of peace and calm. Try to feel it throughout your body.

  4. Breathe out. While you're doing it, imagine that the air leaves with your stress and tension.

  5. Now use a word or phrase with your breath. As you breathe in, say in your mind, "I breathe in peace and calm."

  6. As you breathe out, say in your mind, "I breathe out stress and tension."

  7. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes.

But just remember we all start somewhere, so it's never to early or to late to make a change for the better. So although these techniques can seem hokey or silly or not worth it, life is really about what you put into it. It's like your bank account, which grows or shrinks based on how much you put into it or take out of it. This is a great technique to invest in your account to effectively manage your energy. After consistently using these tools to manage your energy instead of ignoring your bodies need for rest you will begin to feel better and the power harnessed from working with your body instead of against it. So before you knock the recommendation above, try it. Hopefully at least one of these techniques will work for you and you will see the value it adds to your life.

We believe in equipping people with the structure and tools necessary to live a life of balance and fulfillment. Our mission is to empower others to overcome everyday obstacles, experience everyday wins, realizing that you have everything you need within, to create the life you desire!!

If stress, anxiety, or energy management is something you are struggling with don't forget to check out the other tips in our other post on energy management. Often times trouble with stress, anxiety, or energy management goes hand and hand with other aspects of your life. Take a FREE Well-Being Assessment to determine what areas to focus on first. None of us are perfect, we start where you currently are, let's setup a meeting to customize a plan to suit your needs, and create an action plan that takes you from where you are right NOW to where you WANT to be!!!

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