How are you breathing right now? Are your breaths slow and deep, or short and shallow?
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that deep breathing is a proven tactic to relieve stress. But it may be tough to take a break and practice deep breathing. So here’s your chance! Slow down for just a moment, tap into your breath, and give yourself a tool to find your focus―whenever, wherever.
Give It a Try
First, let’s experiment. No matter where you are, take this moment to focus on your breath. If you can, sit down and close your eyes.
- Fill your lungs with air. Slowly count to 4 as you breathe in.
- Hold your breath for another 4 counts.
- Then release the air over another 4 counts, exhaling just as slowly as you inhaled.
- Try this for several rounds of breath.
Check In Afterward
When you’ve finished, check in with yourself. Ask yourself:
- How am I breathing now?
- How do I feel?
- Do I notice any different sensations in my body or my mind?
Change It Up
If you have trouble slowing down your breathing at first, try some old tricks:
- Gently close one nostril with a finger while you breathe. This will halve your air supply in and out, forcing you to inhale and exhale more slowly.
- Try lying flat on your back. This position we normally reserve for sleep can naturally signal your brain to slow down your respiration.
- Just like a sleeping baby’s belly rises and falls with each breath, try breathing deep into your belly. This activates your vagus nerve, telling your body in its own language that everything is going to be okay.