Many of us haven’t spent much time thinking about our breath and the power of the breath. In fact, we might take it for granted.
But it’s so powerful and can help you in many ways.
Jacqui Jones is one of our amazing Wellness experts with qualifications in child and adolescent welfare. She also teaches mindfulness meditation and positive psychology.
In this article, she explains why your breath can be used as a tool to help improve your mental health.
How can we use the power of the breath to help improve our overall well-being?
It feels unnatural when we start being aware of the power of the breath and our own breath. Take a couple of minutes to notice yourself breathing in and out.
While it might feel unnatural and irregular, it takes practice and awareness to tune into the natural rhythm of your breath. In fact, it can be used as a source of strength and comfort.
We all lead busy lives. We find ourselves moving from one stressful event to the next, which can put a lot of stress on the nervous system.
When the body goes into flight or fright mode, the adrenaline glands are accelerated, cortisol rises, and your body prepares to fight off danger or run away.
If you don’t learn to rest and digest, this is detrimental to long-term health. In modern society, we are always engaged in fright and flight mode, as it’s hard to properly switch off sometimes.
Using the power of the breath effectively, you can learn to support your nervous system and help calm down your body and brain.
Breath exercises to try and engage the power of the breath
Play around with your breath. Start by having one hand on your chest and one on your stomach.
Breathe normally. Does it go down the most in your chest or in your stomach? The effective way to breathe is to breathe down into the stomach area.
Take deep, slow breaths and do this through the nose. Fill your belly up with your breath, releasing it slowly through the mouth.
Breathe in, push it all the way down, and then breathe out through the mouth.
You have sent a clear signal to your parasympathetic nervous system to calm down.
The more practice you have doing it, the easier it will become.
You can simply choose to take three deep conscious breaths when things seem stressful.
We often jump into reaction mode. If our kids are bickering, try this method of deep breathing to engage the power of the breath. This will help you approach the situation from a sense of calm rather than frustration.
You’ll be a better role model for your children.
Worksheet on the power of the breath
There is a simple power of the breath worksheet for you to try. It’s divided into four sections: mind, body, spirit and other.
There are different tools for different moods and different days. Don’t put pressure on yourself to do every single thing one of these things in the next 24 hours. The power of the breath worksheet is a guide.
Remember, the power of the breath is that it keeps us connected to the present moment. The breath can’t be in yesterday, and it cannot be in tomorrow. The breath is only ever in the here and now.
It’s very different to the concept of our minds. Our minds can get stuck in the past or anxious about coming up in the future.
Indian author Amit Ray says, “When life is foggy, the path is unclear, and the mind is dull, remember your breath. It has the power to give you peace and resolve the unresolved equations of life.”
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