I think one of the most important things to remember about breathing is that it’s a great resource – apart from keeping us alive, of course – in working with our emotions.
And one point I want to emphasize is the importance of slow breathing in order to calm you down. So when you breathe slowly, if you’re feeling stressed, or tense, that slow breathing switches on the calming part of your nervous system (called the para sympathetic nervous system). So it’s a physical process that happens as you’re doing that breathing.
One way to breathe slowly is to take a longer out breath than in breath. So you breathe in, and then you take a longer out breath.
Do that now for just one in breath, with a longer out breath.
So if you do that for a few minutes, you will find yourself becoming calmer than you were when you started. It also helps if you do ‘diaphragmatic’ breathing, which could be called belly breathing, and which is really breathing from the area around your belly button.
So just try that now, breathing in and taking a longer out breath. And breathing from your belly button.
So the key point is that even if you’re feeling quite wound up and stressed, if you make a space to do that slow breathing, you will begin to de-stress and to calm down your nervous system.
Mindfulness emphasises the importance of breathing – take a look at my Easy Mindfulness online course which has 15 lessons you can do whenever you like.
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