With the modern pace of life, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and unable to catch-up with a never ending to do list. Whether at work, school, home time with family, or with friends, life can leave you feeling exhausted, drained, and struggling to find a solid footing to take control of. That’s where active breathing comes in.
Controlled breathing, or positive breath work is an excellent tool to help combat the inevitable periods of stress and anxiety that come with the passing of time. Many people don’t even pay attention to the body’s automatic breathing process but if you can harness intentionality, positive breathing can help you calm down, lower blood pressure, and thrive in moments when challenging circumstances present.
Here are three approaches to establishing the ability to self-sooth and turn inward to find the ability to relax:
● Diaphragm Breathing
To engage the diaphragm when breathing, place one hand on your lower stomach and the opposite hand on your chest. Deeply breathe in and focus on expanding your lungs. You should feel the hand on your chest move but not the hand on your lower belly. Try to draw in at least five deep breaths and exhale slowly and deliberately.
● Nostril Breathing
This is a popular form of breath work that many people learn in yoga class. Nostril breathing can help the body find balance and slow your speed of thoughts enabling you to focus. To perform, simply plug one nostril with your thumb while inhaling in through the opposite nostril, then trade fingers, and slowly exhale. You can continue this pattern of alternating nostrils through drawing in and out the breath. This type of positive breath work is great to perform if you are feeling sluggish or tired.
● Balanced Breathing
Balanced breathing is simple: draw in a slow deep breath and count, and then exhale while reaching the same number. Each time you breath in, add a number. This type of breathing is great at calming the central nervous system so it’s a great tool to use when you have to make a big decision or need to shake a case of the nerves!