Breath is a powerful thing. It is the very thing that gives us life, but beyond that, breathing can be a way to create inner peace, feel calmer, and center yourself during stressful situations. It also helps heighten your awareness of your surroundings, alleviates anger, quiets inner chaos, and has even been known to help lower blood pressure.
Over time, stress, anxiety, and the daily pressure of our lives can cause adverse situations and greatly affect our health. The more we deal with these things, the more they perpetuate, putting our physical, mental, and emotional health in peril.
Mindful, conscious breathing allows us to find stillness, within and without, so that we can come back to ourselves with a refreshed mentality and heart. It offers a pause before we speak or react to difficult situations. It brings back focus from monkey mind – the constantly moving part of our brains. It can help you find the peace of mind to feel more gratitude for the smaller things in life. The power of breathing can also help with better sleep.
Deep breathing helps bring us back to the present moment. Being present is a mindfulness practice that is beneficial to every area of our lives.
Here’s how to practice mindfulness with deep breathing, based on stress-relief breathing techniques from Three Deep Breaths: Finding Power and Purpose in a Stressed-Out World by Thomas Crum:
- Find a comfortable place to sit, preferably in the Lotus position (cross-legged).
- Rest your palms comfortably on your knees or in your lap and straighten your spine.
- Take a few deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through the mouth. Listen to the inner sound of your breath as you inhale and exhale.
- When you are comfortable, at your own pace, add the following intentions to help you deepen your experience and achieve conscious breathing.
- First Deep Breath: Breathe in energy and balance. Breathe in the present moment, breathe out tension. Be aware of everything around you and feel your body letting go.
- Second Breath: Possibility breath – Breathe in the ‘me I want to be’ with power and purpose. Imagine yourself in the best possible scenarios, becoming the “you” that you always wanted to be.
- Third Breath: The Discovery Breath – Breathe in the Mystery, let go of judgment. See things with a child’s amazement, as if everything is a mystery. Unlock rigid beliefs. Exhale and release guilt, resentment, and any resistance preventing joy and fulfillment.
Remember to breathe through your nose and out through your mouth. This stimulates diaphragmatic breathing and helps deepen your breath, creating healthy tension in your lungs and filling your cells with vital oxygen.
Practice conscious breathing every day, and as often as needed, to help ground and center yourself, find focus, relieve unwanted stress, or quiet the mind.
“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” – Thich Nhat Hanh