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Just Breathe

Just Breathe – exercises

The key to breathing easily and well is to first start noticing the breath. You can do this by sitting somewhere quietly, in a chair that supports your back and just listening to your breath as it flows in and out. These exercises will help you  tune into your breath and discover the many ways it can help you to relax and de-stress.

Sitting quietly, just notice your breath, exactly as it is

The subtle sensations of breath entering and leaving the nose;

The rise and fall of your chest with each breath;
The rise and fall of your belly with each breath;
Following the entire flow of the breath, from entry to exit.
There’s no need to change any aspect of your breathing. No matter if it’s rapid or slow, deep or shallow. Your first job is to just notice.

And when your attention is taken away – as it will be – gently let it return to your breath.

Breathing for relaxation

When you are stressed or anxious, you can use your breathing to relax.  By slowing controlling our breathing we can trigger physical relaxation. Here’s how:

Sit somewhere quietly in a chair that supports your back
Focus your attention on your breath
Make a slow, mental count to 4 as you breathe in
Pause for a moment.
Make a slow, mental count to 4 as you breathe out
Pause for a moment
Repeat
The 4-count can be 3 or 5 or whatever count feels most comfortable for you.

Five minutes of this practice should start to help you feel relaxed.

jennifer

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Grant
psychologist

Jenny is an experienced and committed psychologist. You will often find her playing handball in the ITH carpark or making a mess in our kitchen with all the vegetables she eats.

Breathing. So natural. So simple. And a powerful tool for moderating our moods, feelings and health. Yet many of us are not doing it properly and so we are missing out on the benefits. Breathing delivers oxygen to our bodies, helping us to feel calm and energised. At times of stress, we often start breathing more shallowly and rapidly, which increases those stressful sensations.
“Your body hears everything your mind says” Naomi Judd

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