Relaxation: Breathing Techniques
This will be the first in our series of relaxation technique blogs. Relaxation should be an important part of anyones daily routine, as the many health benefits it delivers are easy to achieve with just a few quick and simple exercises. There’s no excuse – just read on and we’ll explain what you can do to help relax yourself at the end of a hard day, or just make it into a routine to give you a more healthy and relaxed lifestyle.
Put simply – relaxation is a way of relieving your physical or mental tension. Learning to relax will take practice – but we guarantee that the effects will be worth it. You should try to use these techniques regularly, as it will prepare your mind and body for the most stressful, anxiety producing times.
Relaxation will help you in a variety of different ways:
- It will reduce how tired you feel.
- It will improve your performance in work, sport, music – anything you need concentration for.
- It can reduce pain – tension and anxiety will often cause headaches and backaches.It will help you to cope with stressful situations – especially the breathing techniques which this blog will be centred around.
- It will improve your sleep.
- It has a positive impact on your self-confidence.
- It can improve your personal relationships – anxiety and stress can often have negative impacts on your relationships with people closest to you.
Many people with stress or anxiety will tend to use their chest muscles for breathing – rather than their diaphragms. When you take in deep breaths from your abdomen, rather than shallow breaths from your lungs, you will breathe in more oxygen.
Sit in a chair and place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. Most people would expect their stomach to go in when they breathe in – actually you should be noticing the opposite. the deep breathing technique we will explain to you today is a simple, yet effective way of ensuring that you are breathing through your diaphragms, and releasing pressure in your chest muscles. This will lead to you feeling more relaxed, and relieving the feelings of anxiety you may be experiencing.
The technique can be practiced almost anywhere, and is the beginning of many other relaxation practices which we will explain to you in the next few blogs. It can be combined with other relaxing elements, like scent therapy and of course – relaxation music. Just head over to our YouTube channel and select one of our meditation videos.
Deep Breathing Meditation
Practice this technique as much as possible, however you are feeling, so that you are ready to react with it in any given stressful situation. All you will need to practice this deep breathing is a place to stretch out a bit.
- Sit comfortably, ensuring your back is straight, and put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
- Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise, and the hand on your chest should move very little.
- Exhale through your mouth and push out as much air as you can whilst contracting your stomach muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale.
- Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, and focus on counting slowly as you exhale.
This seems really easy – but the more stressed or anxious you feel the more likely you are to start breathing shallow breaths from your lungs. This is the factor that starts many peoples panic attacks.
If you are finding it difficult to concentrate on your breathing – there are a few other techniques you can use to focus the mind on this technique.
When you are using the deep breathing technique, try to imagine you have a balloon in your stomach. As you breathe out – the balloon deflates, and as you breathe in it’s inflating again. Focusing your mind on an image will help you to concentrate on your breathing techniques.
You could use the thought of breathing in the scent of a flower, or blowing out a candle. It’s entirely up to you, just try to find an image that will keep your mind focused.
A lot of people will associate different feelings with colours, which is where colour therapy was adapted from. Using an element of colour therapy we can improve our concentration on our breathing techniques. Firstly – think of two colours. One which is a calming colour for you, and one which is a tense colour. Now the trick is to imagine that the colours are mists in front of you.
When you inhale – imagine breathing in the calming colour, and when you exhale imagine breathing out the tense colour. In your mind imagine that colour to be the anxiety you have been experiencing, and let your mind begin to relax.
We hope this breathing technique can help you, and keep your eyes peeled for the next in our series of relaxation blogs.