According to WebMD, we take 20,000 breaths per day and only pay attention to 2-3. Can you imagine what life would be like if we consciously, mindfully breathed even just double that amount?
Benefits of Mindful Breathing: slows us down, re-centers and reconnects us to us, loosens our muscle tension, gives us energy, calms the nervous system, and improves brain function. Harvard scientists found that meditation conclusively and positively changes your brain structure – shrinking amygdala (fear center), rewiring from primal/reactionary limbic system to rational prefrontal cortex, etc. Just look at the Fortune 500 organizations including: General Mills, Goldman Sachs, Google, Apple, and Nike (high performing, no?) who are using mindfulness meditation as a staple of employee development.
Pro tip: check in with yourself before the practice, after each breathing exercise and at the end of the session. Why? To become aware of your emotions and states while practicing acceptance of whatever is coming up. This is for your peace of mind.
1. Equal-Parts-Breathing/Box Breathing
How to: inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, hold out for 4 seconds
Benefits: calms and regulates the autonomic nervous system (according to Mayo Clinic).
2. Quality Check
How to: notice depth, speed, overall connection to breath etc.
Benefits: helps keep us in mindful awareness of breath and present moment.
3. Slow Down & Quiet
How to: slow down the breath to as slow and quiet as possible
Benefits: slows us down, focuses the mind, relieves stress + calms nervous system
Practically Apply It: Breathe mindfully as much as you can this week. The same way that we come back to the breath over and over again in meditation, try coming back to it throughout the day.
Want to really solidify this practice? Reach me for a 1:1 so I can demystify one of the most effective tools for your holistic wellness.