Hand-Holding Human

Have you taken a breath today?

Posted on December 1, 2015

If we take the time to listen we realise that we have an amazing body that gives us messages, either through feeling an emotion, tension or pain. But, it also gives us a solution to soothing ourselves, and the solution is the breath.

22ifyouknowtheartofbreathing0ayouhavethe0astrength2cwisdom2c26courage0aof0atentigers220achineseadage-defaultHow many times in a day do you remember to breathe or take a deep breath? Sometimes I’ll come to the end of my day and realise that I haven’t taken any, instead through our unconscious programming our body has taken control and done it for us. Similarly, we don’t have to remember how to grow our hair, digest our food or learn to sleep, because our body is clever enough to manage these processes for us. However, when we do remember to breathe we empower ourselves to create our own inner peace and tranquility, giving our bodies the opportunity to refresh and reboot, which helps us to feel more balanced, optimistic and aware.

When working as a therapist I help my clients to relax and work through any emotion or physical pain through focusing on their breath and using it to create space whether that is in the mind or focusing on a physical tension that manifests itself somewhere in the body. Just take a moment to think about the last time you were stressed or worried about something and note where you felt it physically. In your tummy or chest perhaps? Do you remember what you did you soothe it?

Realising that we have an inbuilt tool to managing tension, stress or even panic through the breath can change our whole reality and our perception of both what is going on in the world around us and in our our own body. Through taking some time to breathe you can soothe and resolve feelings of discomfort, through focusing on massaging that part of the body with the breath – it really is a wonder.

I notice this power the most when I am running hypnotherapy and EFT sessions in preparation for birth with my pregnant clients. As I begin a calming relaxation with them we always focus on the breath first. I am always struck by the true beauty of pregnancy as I see the mother-to-be just relax into her body as they create their own serenity, their own paradise through slowly melting into a personal peaceful sanctuary. It makes me smile when they tell me how the baby has positively responded to those moments of sheer tranquility; always a reminder of how beautifully connected mother and baby are.

To allow the body to calm, all of our bodies are built with something called the parasympathetic function; this enables us to relax. We can switch this on through taking some deep tummy breaths. This is something you can do relatively privately (no one will ever know!) but in a public space. At work, travelling to and from work on public transport or at home. Breathing is key to our health because it can  overpower our stress response which locks our body into survival mode, shutting down some of our bodies day-to-day functionality so that we focus our energy on surviving. This is ok once in while but if you are regularly activating this it can begin to weaken your immune system as your body begins to feel overwhelmed by the the regular release of stress hormone and lack of sleep.

The key thing to remember is that you will need to take a longer exhale than inhale. So begin with breathing in for four counts and out for seven and see how that rhythm works for you. You can make it shorter or longer, and as you experiment you will soon find your bodies natural rhythm. Through taking the time to breathe it will give your body a soothing break. Make sure that you breathe from your tummy up and place your hand on your stomach to connect with it. Too often we are breathing from our chests and throats and not truly allowing the body to benefit or be fueled by refreshing new oxygen.

I have shared some breathing technniques called 7/11 breathing and HeartMath here.

Like anything this takes time, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the prospect when we are already so busy. Consider focusing on your breathe at some point in your lunch break, on your journey to a from work, at the end of a work out, when you’re cooking your evening meal or perhaps when you take a bath or before bedtime. Even consider using the time that you would intermittently browse the internet or social media to focus on your breath instead. By integrating it into another day-to-day task just makes it feel so much more manageable and possible.

We were all born to breathe and it’s a magically soothing tool that we should all be learning to empower us to manage our own wellness and increase our day to day mindfulness.

Here’s also a little vlog that I made last night, you can have a watch or listen to it as a podcast.

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