Stop what you’re doing stand up for a moment and just breatheâ€¦ now pay attention to that breath. Follow it as it goes and your chest expands with each deep breath, feel the air flowing outward. Okay. Now how do you feel? If you’re like most people, you’re probably feeling more relaxed, more present, and more aware.
That was easy, right? But, as Dr. Danny Penman, author of The Art of Breathing, saysâ€¦ The hardest bit is remembering [to breathe]. Once you remember to breathe (and actually bring awareness to your breath) when you needed it the most you’ll have the ability to calm yourself and think more clearlyâ€”the ability to live more mindfully.
What exactly does mindful breathing do?
Your brain is really smart, but sometimes that doesn’t work to our advantage. When we’re feeling stressed or dealing with any type of emotional pain our brains will re-wire themselves to help you feel that stress more effectively. The same actually works for physical pain!
Thanks, brain, exactly what we need when we’re in pain: the ability to feel pain better…
Okay, so how does mindful breathing help in the situation?
When you practice mindful breathing the brain becomes better able to reverse this rewiring and stay calm and in control whether you’re in emotional or physical pain.
Take a look at how mindfulness could help stop opioid abuse.
How often do we need to practice before it works?
All it takes is 10-20 minutes of mindful breathing about 5 times a week to start feeling the benefits. Do this for a few days, and eventually months, and you’ll feel more in control of your emotions and thoughts when you need it.
And mindful breathing doesn’t mean meditation.
Often times when people hear mindful breathing or pay attention to your breath they think of meditation, although the 2 are related, they aren’t the same. Meditation just doesn’t resonate with many people, but mindful breathing is different.
If you’re interested in trying out mindful breathing for yourself, take a look at one of Dr. Penman’s guided breathing exercises, or grab yourself a copy of his book.