Calm Yourself With Your Breath
It is amazing what your breath can do for you. When you are anxious, your breath rate increases. When you slow your breathing, you can begin to calm your whole being. The Empowering Team brings you this step-by-step process from author and inspirational speaker Laurence De Rusha to help calm your mind.
Here is a breathing exercise that can hep you calm your whole being—your nervous system and your mind chatter. This is a timed breathing exercise common in Zen mediation. You count your breaths and make the exhale longer than the inhale. The reasoning here is that when your exhale is longer than your inhale, a signal is sent through the vagus nerve (the main nerve running from the brain to the stomach) from your brain to increase the parasympathetic nervous system’s actions. This includes relaxing muscles, lowering blood pressure, slowing the heart rate, and moving into a restful or relaxed state.
Here is an easy way to move your body in that “para” state. In Zen meditation you count 1 for the inhale and 2 on the exhale and 3 on the inhale and 4 on the exhale. Shift that for this by counting 1 on the inhale and 2 and 3 on the exhale, etc. This allows the exhale to be longer than the inhale.
- To begin, find a comfortable place to sit or simply sit still in an erect posture.
- Close your eyes part way and look down at a 45-degree angle without focusing on anything.
- Breathe through your nose.
- Inhale and count 1 … hold the breath in for a moment … exhale gently and count 3 and 4 … and hold your breath for a moment.
- Keep your breathing even and smooth.
- You can change the count to suit your breathing style. Just be sure to make the exhale longer than the inhale.
Try this for five minutes and see the amazing result!
Laurence is the author of three books: The Secret of Knowing, The Future of the Future, and Born for This. He is a scientist and minister.