Don’t Think, Just Breathe… You don’t even have to be a seasoned meditator!

Well, the holidays are coming to a close. With all of that overeating, rushing around, worrying about family, finances, work, and every other little chore you have to deal with, it’s all too easy to forget about taking care of yourself. One way I like to deal with the holiday stress is taking a few minutes for myself every day just to sit quietly and breathe.

But that’s easier said than done, isn’t it? This time of year, very few us have the time to stop and take a breath. So instead, try paying attention to the way you breathe day-to-day, minute-by-minute.

While it’s easy to dismiss as unimportant, the way we breathe is an incredibly important aspect of our health. Think about it: it is one of the few things that we do all day, every day, for our entire lives. Changes in breathing often indicate how our body is feeling—think about the last time you were surprised or frightened, or when you were really excited about something. But the manner in which we breathe isn’t just an involuntary response—being conscious of our breath and taking control of it is a huge step in improving your mental and physical health, and can be the key to dissolving those wintery tensions.

Changing your breathing can help alleviate stress, reduce panic attacks, increase your energy, and even give you an emotional boost. By optimizing the amount of oxygen being delivered to your brain and the rest of your body’s cells, you can begin to feel better simply by monitoring the way you breathe. If you have serious or long-term diseases such as asthma or bronchitis, correct breathing can be the first step on your path to relief. Proper breathing is also incredibly cleansing, in more ways than one—in addition to helping calm and clear your mind, good breath helps the endocrine system function well, allowing your body to rid itself of waste while simultaneously strengthening your immune system.

Not all of us have the time or patience for a daily meditation, but taking a moment to consider your breath is a step in the right direction. If you’re looking to relieve some of that mental and physical tension that seems to come along so naturally with the holiday season, try out this easy breathing exercise.

Belly Breathing, (my favorite)

  • Simply lay on your back in a comfortable position and place your hands on your belly.
  • As you inhale, feel your belly rise and count to 3 or 4
  • As you exhale, feel your belly sink toward the ground, make this exhale last a beat or two longer than your inhale
  • You should almost immediately start feeling more relaxed.
  • Repeat this several times.
  • You can even do this standing up anywhere or at anytime. Just Breathe

How often do you notice your breath and rate and depth of your breathing? Let me know. Do you have a favorite breathing exercise you can call on at a moments notice?

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