Breathing is getting a lot of attention lately, and I know it’s beginning to sound trite. But there’s a reason we mindfulness folk keep beating this particular drum: It works.
Here’s why. First, just merely remembering to breathe requires us to interrupt whatever we are doing or thinking that has our stomach in knots. Sometimes a few seconds of intentional breathing is enough to get us into a different and more helpful frame of mind. Even if it isn’t, it’s still nice to get a short break from the madness in our mind.
And when we’re stressed out, our sympathetic nervous system takes over, raising our blood pressure, speeding up our breathing, and releasing stress hormones. Slow, deep breathing activates our parasympathetic nervous system instead, and this puts the brakes on that series of events.
Breathing is also free, easy, and possible to do anytime: on the train to work, standing in line for coffee, before hitting send on that email, or while in the middle of yelling at our spouse. We always have the opportunity to stop and get a handle on what we are thinking and feeling.
Here are three easy breathing exercises and when they can help you.
You can read the rest of this post over at Psychology Today.