Life Hack Monday: master your day with these two breathing techniques

February 12, 2018

 

 

What if you could calm yourself down when needed and ramp it up – get energized - on demand?  You CAN!  All you need are these two breathing techniques!

 

BREATHING TO CALM DOWN

During an emergency, our breathing rate and pattern changes.  Our breath becomes rapid and shallow, staying in our upper lungs, known as the Emergency Response.

 

If during this time we are not physically exerting ourselves, this breathing pattern can produce panic attacks or hyperventilation, producing uncomfortable symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, confusion and more.

 

The good news is that by changing your breathing you can reverse these symptoms.

By consciously, deliberately changing your breathing rate and pattern, you can stimulate the body's parasympathetic response. This is the body's equally powerful and opposite system to the Emergency Response and is often called the Relaxation Response or Calming Breath. 

 

How to breathe to calm down:

  • 20 seconds: slowly inhale – start with filling lower abdomen, then stomach, lungs, lastly chest

  • 20 seconds: hold your breath

  • 20 seconds: slowly exhale

Continue this pattern for 3 minutes.  If 20 seconds is too long for you, start with 10 and work up to 20 seconds.  Consider repeating a calming mantra in your head while you’re doing the breathing, such as “I’ve got this”, God is in control”.

 

BREATHING TO GET ENERGIZED

Ever have one of those mornings when you have to be up early but simply can’t summon the energy to start your day?  This is a routine I have been using successfully for years to shake out the cobwebs and get me moving on the mornings when a cup of coffee just isn’t going to do it.  You can use this technique any time of the day you need to get energized and alert, just don’t do it before bed.


How to breathe to get energized:

  • Exhale through the mouth in a short, quick burst by compressing the upper chest

  • Do not actively inhale.  Allow the inhale to happen by relaxing the muscles in the chest

  • Repeat rapidly 20 to 40 times

  • Build up to where you can perform continuously for 60 seconds

  • If you become dizzy, stop and sit down!

 

Oprah has been advocating conscious breathing techniques for years and this is the book she chose for her well known Book Club to read.  It has excellent reviews and very valuable content presented in a manner that engages you immediately - highly recommend it!

 

Being aware of your breath, consciously changing how you’re breathing to bring about the emotional, physical state you want to experience is truly Mastering Your Day! 

 

Being aware of your breath is also an excellent way to stay in the present moment, practicing mindfulness.

 

xoxo Katherine

 

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