Almost all of my students have a goal of being more clam, relaxed, or present throughout their day.
And while feeling more relaxed can be as simple as tapping into your breath, staying more relaxed takes practice and consistency.
Here’s the good news.
Practice doesn’t have to take a lot of time out of your day.
When I work with people 1 on 1, I usually give them something they can do in 5-15 minutes every day... or at least close to every day. This is because the more you do something the more that action changes you.
I encourage you to try the 4-7-8 breath. Here’s why:
It takes about 5 minutes to complete or less depending on how many rounds you do. This means you can easily fit it into your day.
Doing this before bed can help you sleep better. And better sleep means you’re more resilient against obstacles that life might throw your way.
Practicing the breath and feeling it in your body multiple times will help you access this technique more easily whenever you do notice the stress start creeping up.
Some things to keep in mind while practicing breathwork
Your breath is linked to your nervous system.
This is because your breath is both affect by and affects the vagus nerve. This nerve starts at the brain stem and travels through the face, neck, lungs, heart, diaphragm and abdomen, including the stomach, spleen, intestines, colon, liver, and kidneys. It's associated with mood, immune response, digestion, and heart rate.
What to do if you feel stressed.
Since we're trying to create a relaxed state, doing something that is creating stress is not helpful. It would be like wanting pain in your toe to stop, but you continue to hit your toe against the wall. Not helpful.
If you do feel stressed during this breathwork, there's nothing wrong with you. Stop and come to a normal breathing pattern. After that, you have a couple options:
Try again with less expectations on yourself or how you're supposed to feel.
Change the count to something lower and then work up to it.
Stop counting completely. Instead, focus on the actions: inhale, hold your breath, then do a long exhale. Really focus on that long exhale.
After you've completed your breathwork, notice how you feel. What has changed? What stayed the same? There are no right or wrong answers.
I’d love for you to comment if you noticed any changes or not.
For more ways to relax, check out the related posts at the bottom of this blog post.