Breathe in, breathe out. It’s pretty common to hear people talk about taking “deep breaths” when feeling anxious or stressed out. Our busy lives can often leave us feeling tired, hazy, and maybe a little off-center. Meditation and deep breathing exercises can help us relax, and guide us towards a healthier inner voice and perspective. Learning how to control your breath can also help you calm down in serious situations, as well as handle day to day emotional stress. Here’s a little handy guide to help you get started:
Practice Breathing Through Your Stomach
Breathing is a natural function, and oftentimes we hardly give it any thought. Did you know that breathing through your stomach can help you inhale more deeply?
Stomach breathing is one of the first skills taught in meditation, and involves feeling the breath as you inhale from your stomach, not your chest. You then slowly exhale and see the breath through to the end. By learning to take deeper, more effective breaths, you can also reduce stress, and learn to calm down when emotions run high. Focus on expanding your stomach as you inhale, and feel the entire breath leave as you exhale.
Make Use of Free Resources
Youtube has a ton of free resources on meditation and deep breathing. If you are just starting out, try typing in “guided meditations” and see what you get. Many of these are only a few minutes long and can be done in the morning or at night.
Remember to do your research and do not rely too heavily on one meditation source until you’ve become better educated and acquainted with the practice, especially if you are learning on your own, as you want to absorb the proper techniques and philosophies. Try this one out to start, it is a quick five minute meditation with a focus on mindfulness:
Practice and Understand Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the basis of meditation, and “being more mindful” is a common theme when talking about mental health. Being mindful is essentially focusing on the present, and allowing thoughts and feelings to pass through you without judgement. We learn that life’s experiences, both good and bad, all come to pass. A common trigger of anxiety and stress can result from overthinking about the future, and living in it. This is where mindfulness can help.
Focusing on your breath and meditating are great ways to practice mindfulness, which can be applied to your day to day life, as you learn to focus on the here and now. In turn, you can use mindfulness to help control less helpful emotions like anger, sadness, and frustration, as you learn to become less reactive to thoughts and feelings.
Tips for Getting Started:
Hopefully these handy tips will help you get started, and provide you with a solid foundation for your practice. Meditation and breathing exercises have been proven to help ease stress, anxiety, and restlessness. They are powerful tools that can help you learn to control your emotions, and feel better in your day to day life.