What a season we’re in right now! None of us have ever experienced a global pandemic before. Whether you’re used to being home, working harder than ever, lost your job, or just “simply” having to adjust to all the stores being closed and busier than ever, life is very different right now. While it won’t be like this forever, we can definitely learn some new skills.
One of the skills I’ve had to pull out for myself daily has been some simple breathing exercises. I use these regularly with those I coach but have had to keep them in my pocket now more than ever. I used to go grocery shopping 2-3 times per week to pick up fresh food for meals that I cook from home. Home cooking has been an integral part of my healing journey. However, in this season, the stores are very different, and so is life.
What I’d like to introduce to you is called “breathwork.”
Breathwork is very simple. It’s not anything “woo woo” or strange. It’s been very studied. It is simply slowing yourself down to allow your mind and body to relax.
Doing something as simple as this has been shown to help with the following:
- relaxing the body
- reducing anxiety
- reducing fears
- helping with food cravings
- reducing blood pressure
- creating an opposite response to the “fight or flight” response
- activating the sympathetic nervous system
- helping with adrenal fatigue
- helping with insomnia
- helping with issues related to chronic stress
- increasing mental clarity
- increasing energy
Here are a few steps that I recommend to shift your atmosphere:
STEP ONE: Acknowledge Your Current State of Being
Acknowledge the feelings you’re feeling. It does no good to ignore your feelings. It also does no good to feel them so much that they overtake you. The point is acknowledging them is to shine the light on them, respond to your system by letting your body know that you know something is wrong.
For example, here’s one way of acknowledging an emotion:
“I recognize that I’m experiencing anxiety right now.”
Anxiety, I see you.”
“It’s okay to feel this way. And it’s understandable.”
“And now I choose to let it go.”
“I choose not to partner with anxiety today.”
This is the point I choose to picture it being released out of my body. Sometimes I picture packing it up in a box, other times I picture it just releasing like sweat as I detox the emotion.
STEP TWO: Take Some Deep Breaths
Close your eyes.
Take deep breaths.
Breathe in deep through your nose. Deep into your diaphragm.
Hold your breath for a second or two to allow your system to be calm.
Breathe out deep from our mouth.
Repeat this a few times until you feel things begin to shift inside.
STEP THREE: Shift into a Different State
Begin to receive peace, life, and joy.
Receive peace into your system.
Breathe again and this time take some time to do a few things:
Visualize:The things you’re grateful for until you really feel gratitude rise up within you.
The truth and how that really looks in your life.
Yourself in a positive place, succeeding, full of life, joy, and hope.
HERE ARE 3 OTHER BREATHING METHODS WORTH GIVING A TRY:
The Relaxation Response method:
This method is really powerful for healing the body. It’s a powerful way of resetting the nervous system
In a seated or lying down position:Pick one positive thing to focus on during this time: love, hope, one, life, joy, peace.
Breathe in deep in and out through your nose.
Focus your attention on your one word (above) and your breath.
Listen to your breath. Focus on the word. Let everything else drop.
You can do this for as little as one minute, or up to 10-20 minutes at a time.
The 4-7-8 method:
This one is great for everyday, but is also really good for moments where you find you need to reset. I use this one while grocery shopping, in L.A. traffic, or before a busy workday.
- In a seated or lying down position:
- Breathe deep into your diaphragm in through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- Breathe out of your mouth for 8 seconds.
- Repeat up to 4 times.
The Wim Hof Method:
In a seated or lying down position:
- Close your eyes.
- Breathe in deeply through your nose and release through your mouth.
- Take about 30-40 breaths.
- On your last breath, breathe out completely and hold your breath until you feel the urge to breathe again.
- Breathe in deeply and hold for 15 seconds.
- That is one full round. Repeat up to 3-4 times.
- After breathing, be still and allow yourself to be calm for a little while.