Excuse me as I state the bleeding obvious but breathing is one of those things we take for granted. Most of us however, breathe from high in our chests rather than low in our bellies. And while that may keep the Grim Reaper away, it’s not much use when you’re facing stressful solutions.
The tenser we get, the more rapidly we breathe. And if we’re doing it all from the top of our chests, we’re taking short shallow breaths that supply less and less oxygen. So our anxiety worsens.
But it’s a whole different ball game when we take big, slow breaths from the bottom of our bellies. And this little exercise will prove it:
Sit down with your back straight and take a deep breath. Suck it slowly all the way down to the bottom of your belly and hold it for a few seconds.
Now release it slowly and steadily over the course of a few seconds. Now do it again … and again … and again. I guarantee you will feel far better than you did when you started reading this piece.
This oh-so simple exercise will have lowered your heartbeat and blood pressure while releasing tension. Not bad for something that we can do whenever and wherever we want and for absolutely free.
Not only is belly breathing incredibly easy, it’s also the foundation stone of virtually every form of mediation. And meditation has amazing benefits in helping us find calm. After all, when was the last time you saw the Dalai Lama looking stressed?
If you really want to get fancy with your breathing look no further than the wisdom of public speaker, author, advocate of alternative medicines and spiritualist, Deepak Chopra:
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