I know how busy your daily lives are, which is why I love to share with you expert tips and articles to help keep your mind, body and soul in perfect balance without eating into your precious down time.
This week as it is Mental Health Awareness week (13th – 19th May), I have been looking at how to use mindful breathing as a daily remedy to stress and anxiety, amongst other ailments. Like much of meditation in general, Mindful Breathing has its roots in Buddhism. According to the Buddhist Centre, the definition of Mindful Breathing is the art of ‘using breath as an object of concentration.’ By focusing only on your breathing you become aware of the mind’s tendency to jump from one thing to another and in practicing breathing techniques, you are then able to be completely in the present moment, aware of all of the rich and intense experiences of the ‘right now’ – Calming your mind and channeling your energy.
If you haven’t yet become acquainted with Mindful Breathing then there is no need to worry, I have your simple beginners’ guide to some simple techniques that you can use every single day.
Two simple Mindful Breathing exercises that you can easily fit into your daily routine:
1 – The five-minute mindful breathing technique.
With everything else you have going on daily, five minutes is sometimes all that we seem to have left to focus on ourselves. Luckily, Mindful.Org have come up with a five-minute Mindful Breathing exercise that won’t take up your free time. The instructions are as follows:
- Find a comfortable position. You can be standing or sitting.
- Notice and relax your body. Try to really feel your body and connect with what it is feeling, touching and experiencing.
- Tune into your breath. Focus your mind only on your breathing and nothing else.
- Be kind to your mind. If your thoughts do wander from breathing, gently acknowledge it to yourself, and refocus your mind back onto your breathing.
- Stay there for five minutes. Stay as you are for five minutes, with your attention solely on your breath.
- Appreciate that you did this today. Give yourself a pat on the back for completing your Mindful Breathing. You will reap the benefits all day long.
2 – The Body Scan.
This guided meditation, also according to Mindful.org, seeks to focus your attention in a detailed way, on every aspect of your body. This can help those who struggle to get to sleep or to release the anxieties of a busy day at work. A little more time-consuming, the key is to train your mind to give it’s entire attention to a particular part of your body, one piece at a time.
- Lie comfortably on the floor, a mat, or a bed.
- Get in touch with the movement of your breathing until you are focused on that only. Now you are ready to start.
- You can begin at any point of the body, but experts suggest beginning in the abdomen. Focus fully on any sensations in this region.
- Once you feel you have connected to your abdomen, allow your focus to travel down your left leg and feel each toe individually. After focusing on your entire foot, come back up the leg slowly, feeling all sensations along the way.
- Repeat with the other leg and both arms before moving to your upper body.
- For any tension you feel, use your breathing to concentrate on it and breathe it away.
- After you have scanned your entire body, take a few minutes to focus on your body as a whole, feeling your breath flowing in and out as you do.
Psychology Today suggests that the four best times to use Mindful Breathing exercises for maximum effect are:
– First thing in the morning to set you up for the day.
– When you are feeling stressed, to relieve the tension.
– On your lunch hour, to improve your mood for the afternoon.
– At the end of your working day, to signal the barrier between work and leisure time.
It is said that by practicing Mindful Breathing techniques, you will relieve symptoms of anxiety and stress, increase your ability to relax, and have a positive effect on your general physical and emotional wellbeing. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty fantastic to us. Try and incorporate these simple techniques into your life and embrace mindful breathing.
Share in the comments the benefits of mindful breathing has for you
Love xxx Monika