Inhale, Exhale, Repeat

Did you know you can: lower blood pressure, calm nerves, relax muscles, slow heart rate, strengthen muscles, improve digestion, increase awareness, relieve stress, and relieve pain doing one simple task?
Did you know that this task can be done anywhere, anytime, and silently?
So, what is this magical cure-all?
BREATHING! That’s right, it’s something you already do every single day without even THINKING about it. However, making deep breathing a mindful activity for a few moments each day can dramatically increase the benefits. By increasing oxygen supply we can help our physical body heal, while also calming our busy minds.
There are many options for deep breathing. It’s wonderful to have options, but it can also make beginning to practice deep breathing intimidating. We love and teach one very simplified yet cohesive deep breathing activity to nearly all clients, simply because the benefits are incredible, and it doesn’t take up too much time! Try it with us….

This exercise is more helpful than a simple single deep breath because it attacks stress and anxiety on the two levels they attack on. This exercise helps both the physical self, and the mental/emotional self. Plus, it’s quite simple!
Let’s begin…
Breathe in through your nose. Breathe very slowly and deeply. If breathing through your nose is uncomfortable, just breathe through your mouth.
Breathe in so deeply, you feel like a balloon right before it would pop! You know you’re breathing deeply when you see your belly inflate.
Exhale slowly and deeply. Exhale so deeply, you feel as flat as a pancake when you have breathed out completely!
Remember to breathe in and out s-l-o-o-o-w-w-w-l-y-y-y.
Just breathing slowly and deeply will lower your heart rate. This is a calming exercise for the body.
Now, let’s add a cognitive task. For many people, counting backward from 100 works well. Some prefer to count in a foreign language, or recite poetry or prayer. The important thing is to be sure the task is complicated enough so that you need to think about it, but not so complicated that it makes you anxious to figure out what comes next.
Combining the deep breathing with the cognitive task will calm the body and the mind.
To master this exercise, practice taking five deep breaths at a time at five different times of the day!
Pretty soon, you will notice yourself naturally deep breathing in stressful situations. To help remember to take five deep breaths, five times a day, try putting five rubber bands on your left wrist and move a rubber band over each time you complete one set of five.
Share your results with us in the comments! We would love to hear how deep breathing helps you.


-Your Friends at Olive Branch

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