Breathing exercise of the week!
Breathing. The seamless exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide that keeps our bodies humming along. And even though it’s a process that is obviously incredibly crucial to our lives, it’s something we typically give very little thought to. It’s one of the hundreds of valuable processes that our bodies execute automatically, and, as such, requires very little of our conscious effort. However, by taking a little bit of time out of your day to really turn your attention towards your breathing, you can notice some truly remarkable changes, both mental and physical.
There are dozens of quick breathing exercises that you can perform at any given moment (you already have all the tools you need!), that can provide all sorts of different benefits: refreshment and invigoration, relief from anxiety, relief from anger, better sleep, better circulation... the list goes on. Every week, we will share a new breathing exercise for you to try, and see how it makes you feel! Done with the proper focus and attention, breathing can be the easiest and fastest form of self-care you can do!
Alternating Nostril Breathing – This is one of my personal favorites, as it is incredible at calming unwanted nerves and anxiety.
Take your right hand, and fold in your index, middle, and ring fingers, while keeping your pinky and thumb extended (you should be giving yourself serious California-surfer-dude vibes). With your hand holding this shape, place your thumb on the right side of your nose so that it fully seals the right nostril, and take a slow breath in through the left nostril. Next, quickly remove your thumb and seal your pinky against the left nostril, and exhale slowly through the right nostril. After a minute or two of breathing in through the left nostril and breathing out through the right, switch up the rhythm so that you inhale through the right and exhale through the left. **One important tip to make sure you feel this exercise’s relaxing effects is to make sure that your exhales last longer than your inhales (for example, inhaling to the slow count of 4 and exhaling to the slow count of 6).
You can do this exercise, making sure to switch sides every so often, for as long as it takes to feel noticeably calmer and more at peace.
Enjoy and breathe easy ‘til next week!
Written by Helena Lorenz, B.S.
Heights Family Counseling Clinical Intake Specialist