“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Need an easy way to relax for a few minutes that doesn’t include scrolling through your cell phone? Here are 3 simple breathing techniques that you can sneak in anytime. And they are scientifically proven to help you calm down and de-stress.
I like to think of cleansing breaths as being for your mind what water is for your body – cleansing and refreshing. It’s actually good for both our minds and our bodies in so many ways. Just think of the fact that with every breath we take, the oxygen is absorbed into our bloodstream and carried to all of our cells.
It’s one of those things that we overlook, since we don’t have to think about breathing. But, just like anything you begin doing with intention, learning to take cleansing breaths can be a powerful tool for your happiness.
I remember listening to Dr. Wayne Dyer years ago in an interview. He said that every now and then he would be upset by a problem he couldn’t seem to solve, so he would call up his close friend Deepak Chopra for advice. And every single time, Deepak would tell him, “Go to the breath, go to the breath.”
Here is a basic breathing technique you can use when you need to pause for a few seconds or a few minutes and clear your mind and relax. You can also use this basic breathing to get into a relaxed state before meditation. There are slightly different versions of this basic technique. You might come across variations that really resonate with you.
Basic Breathing Technique
- Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, bringing the air all the way in so it reaches the lower part of your lungs. Feel as if it’s filling up your belly. Expand your belly while you’re doing this.
- Pause for a few seconds.
- Breathe out slowly through pursed lips as if you are letting the air out of a balloon. Make sure to get all the air out. Another good way of exhaling is dropping open your mouth and breathing out from your throat.
- Pause for a few seconds. That’s it. Then just repeat for as many times as you’d like.
Some people do a version of this called 4-4-4-4. Each step is four seconds long.
Breathing Technique #2
In this second technique, you can take it up a notch by imagining during your in-breath that you are inhaling fresh, cleansing air. Imagine and feel as if it’s actually cleansing all the cells in your mind and body.
On each out-breath, imagine the air that is coming out is ‘dirty’ – meaning it’s taking with it negative stuff like stress, anger and worry. The in-breath is cleansing it and the out-breath is taking it away.
Breathing Technique #3
In this third technique, you can take it up a notch further by imagining during your in-breath that you are inhaling a quality like love, awareness, confidence, forgiveness, or anything else you might be needing at the moment.
The same goes for your out-breath. You can imagine that specific negative feelings, habits, beliefs, etc. are clearing out.
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How did you do with any one of these techniques? How did you feel afterwards? Write them in the comments below – thanks: