“Take a deep breath” is commonly taken as a figure of speech, but deliberate breathing exercises can be extremely valuable in enhancing our well-being. Simply put, when we breathe better, we feel better.
There is nothing new about the importance of breathing – except most of us do it unconsciously! These shallow breaths deprive us of oxygen and destroy the brain’s ability to process information leading to emotional imbalances, physical ailments and a general irritable mood.
Numerous studies have now given us solid evidence of the positive effects that breathing exercises can have on the nervous system. Breathing exercises can improve our heart rate, and help treat depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Deep Breaths – Exercise
Utilizing breathing techniques and drawing on work by martial arts expert Thomas Crum, I use the following exercise multiple times every day, the first being right after my meditation routine, called “Three Deep Breaths.”
This is a flexible exercise and you should create one that works for you – I have extended Crum’s three breaths to five breaths.
Take a deep breath, hold, and breathe out.
Inhale again and as you exhale, express your gratitude. For example:
“I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for my lunch. I am grateful for my friends.”
Take another breath in and exhale. Focus on one thing that you want to be today. For example:
“Today I will be calm. Today I will be patient. Today I will let go of judgment.
Inhale again and as you exhale say aloud a thought that represents your ideal self. Who are you and who do you want to be? For example:
” I am a loving, generous person who always strives to do the right thing”.
Take a deep breath in and out to finish.
Consider making a commitment to take five conscious breaths at least once a day. Results are immediate!