Breathe in, breathe out
We do it everyday without giving it any thought, but breathing is a tool that we all have to reset our minds. When our brains run on autopilot, they can often take us to places we do not want to go: worry, self-consciousness, and fear. Taking just a few slow breaths can bring our awareness back to the present moment.
It is particularly difficult to stop and breathe when our minds seem to run a mile a minute. This can be triggered by a stressor that allows our thoughts to spiral out of control. So, it is important to practice when we are more at peace in order to make it a habit to breathe when we really need it.
Here is an example of a simple breathing exercise that you can do anytime, anywhere:
- Lie down or sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes or direct your gaze to the floor.
- Breathe in through your nose while counting to 5. Let the air fill your belly comfortably (no need to force it). Pay attention to how it feels as the air travels through your throat and fills your lungs.
- Hold the breath for one second, then slowly breathe out through the mouth, again counting to 5. Be aware of the sensations that occur as your belly deflates and your body relaxes.
- Repeat this as many times as necessary, depending on your needs in the moment.