How To Use Your Breath To Relax

https://lisaskeffington.com/“Hello and Welcome to Episode 3 of ‘Tuesday Choose Day’, my new inspirational weekly post.

 

My aim here is to inspire you to feel more positive and more confident within yourself to create the change you want to happen in your life.”

 

 

Today’s Inspiration To Brighten Your Day…

 

It’s all about the breath…

In the last episode I spoke about your choice in creating windows of peace time in your day when you can take a breather and get some space for you, even if it’s just fifteen minutes, it’s a start.

So today, I want to help to get the most out of that window in your day by helping you to use your breath to help you to relax.  When you focus on breathing the right way, you challenge the stress response and help your body get yourself back in balance.

In today’s busy world, as I have mentioned previously, most people are running on adrenalin and are therefore breathing in a shallow way to their chest.  I wonder how you breathe?  You can test it now by doing this…

Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your tummy.  Breathe in then breathe out.  Which hand is moving more?

Do it again and breathe and breathe more deeply.  Notice again which hand moves more?

If it is your chest hand, you are in fight-flight mode running to some degree background stress.

Unless you feel particularly stressed in this moment, this is how you tend to breathe.  This means that it has become a habit for you to breathe in this shallow way, depriving your body of vital oxygen and nutrients and fuelling the physiological stress response.

Here’s how to re-train your body to breathe correctly…

 

 

Again, place your hands on your chest and tummy.

This time, imagine that there is a deflated balloon in your tummy.  Imagine its colour.

Now as you breathe in through your nose, direct your breath right down to your lower diaphragm where it meets your stomach.  As you do this, imagine the balloon inflating and how its colour spreads. Gently lift your hand a little off your tummy encouraging your tummy to follow your hand up.

Then breathe out through your mouth, pressing your tummy hand flat into your stomach and deflate the balloon.

Repeat this exercise until you get the hang of it.  If you’ve been breathing to your chest for some time, it may take you a little effort to get your breathing back in sync.  Stay with it.

Aim to breathe in to a count of 4, hold it for 2 whilst you focus on the colour and contours of the inflated balloon and then breathe out for 8.  You can build up to this of course.  Begin with 2-1-4 then increase to 3-1-6.

The more you practice this, the more relaxed you will feel.

With practice, as soon as you catch yourself getting stressed and become aware that you are breathing to your chest, you can ward off an adrenalin rush by directing your breath down to your stomach.   That automatic stress response begins to ease and you feel calmer and more balanced in your physiology.

With spiralling anxiety myself for many years, I had gotten into the habit of breathing incorrectly since childhood.  When I realised as an adult that my breath was fuelling the anxiety response, I set about changing it and it was a huge step in my recovery to balance and wellbeing.

Aim to practice this ten times in the morning, midday and evening.  It really works when you get the hang of it! And you’ll be able to help yourself effectively when you need it most.

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Anxiety Help Bournemouth

 

From the Wobbles and Worries Mailbox…

 

“I’m 42 and single for some time now.  I decided recently to join a gym as I really want to get fit and tone up.

I’m about 2 stones overweight.  I’ve had an induction with one of gym staff but I am still really nervous to use the equipment. I know it sounds silly but I feel really self-conscious on my own as everyone seems to know everyone.  I’m worrying what people who are fitter than me will think about me and my flabby body especially when I’m sweaty and red faced!  Can you give me any tips to help my confidence and get me started?”

 

A summary of my advice…
 

You’re being so hard on yourself that you’re putting a mountain right in front of the gym door!   The hardest part is over – committing to take some action and turning up for the first time.  You did that so give yourself a break here.  It’s normal to feel apprehensive about using the equipment until you get the hang of it.  Next time you go in, speak to a PT and tell them that you are unsure of some of the equipment and if they can keep an eye on you.  They are there to help – that is their job, so I’m sure they will be willing of course.

Even the fit gym members were not fit once!  Use the fact that they are fit to prove to you what a difference going to the gym will make for you in reaching your goal of being 2 stone lighter and no longer single.  The truth is everyone is so concerned with how they look regardless of how fit they are, that they rarely have time to notice anyone else, so you’re safe on that count.  Let any friendship just develop casually.  Be friendly and open and smile at people but don’t be needy.  Conversation will casually flow in its own time and you’ll soon be one of the familiar faces which encourages chat.

Instead of focussing negatively on yourself and how bad you believe you look now, focus instead on how great you’re going to feel and look six months from now.  Every time you think of going to the gym and when you are actually there, imagine yourself as your future self  in the gym, confidently using the equipment and taking the exercise in your stride.  If you approach it in this way from the start, you switch your attention and your energy towards getting what you want for yourself and the easier and quicker it will be for you to take there.  Switching your focus away from your insecurities and more onto the positive action you are taking will help you to ease self doubt and feel better about yourself.

If you’d like my advice with your particular wobble or worry, simply click here

 

Tuesday Titter…

A little laughter to lighten your day!

Mum said “you treat this place like a hotel” which she will regret when I give her a low score on TripAdvisor for ‘rude staff’.

James Martin @ Pundamentalism

 

 

 

Lisa Skeffington, Anxiety Expert – Anxiety Help Bournemouth

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