Relax back in your chair and inhale deeply. Feel your feet on the floor and the temperature of the room on your skin. Melt a little deeper into your chair as you exhale.
Taking conscious breaths affects every organ and system in the body. People all over the world, including scientists and medical professionals, are talking about the importance of breathing when it comes to boosting the immune system and managing daily stress and overwhelm.
Studies have found that breathing practices affect the brain and parasympathetic branches of the nervous system. Consciously changing the way we breathe affects mood and behavior and can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and attention deficit disorder.
When we diaphragmatically breathe, we lower the cortisol and adrenaline in our bodies. Taking slow, deep breaths brings the heart in sync with the brain, which causes endorphins to be released and can help us feel calmer and less anxious.
One practice that is incredibly helpful is box breathing. It’s simple and you can do it anywhere. Sit with your back supported in a comfortable chair with your feet on the floor and follow these four steps.
- Breathe in slowly for the count of four.
- Hold your breath for the count of four while staying relaxed.
- Now, slowly exhale for the count of four.
- Hold your breath for the count of four.
Another technique I share with people in my book Breath LOVE is my Emergency Toolkit. Life has a way of giving us new challenges. I return to these four tips time and again when I need to recenter, and my clients tell me how much it helps them, too.
Connect Your Breath
Conscious, connected breathing boosts our immune system, lowers cortisol, improves blood flow, and changes our response to physical and mental stress.
Water carries oxygen to our cells so our systems work properly. It also removes toxins from our body.
Move your Body
This will get the energy moving, your heart beating, and your blood flowing to keep you vibrant and healthy. It also helps to relieve stress.
Get Outside in Nature
When you connect with nature, serotonin, a chemical that regulates mood is released, giving you a feeling of peace and emotional ease. You get vitamin D from the sun - so double prizes!
MYX Note: Lauren Chelec Cafritz is an internationally known breathwork teacher, speaker, and the author of Breath LOVE. She brings guidance, wisdom, compassion, and joy to her clients in both individual and group breathwork sessions as they explore and deepen their breath and improve their health and wellbeing. You can learn more about her and her work at her website.