Humans take 20,000 breaths a day, including the time we are asleep. But how many of those are we truly conscious about? Take a minute and ask yourself, when was the last time you connected with your breath? We never stop and think about our breath, but we should. We need to learn how to breathe mindfully.
During times of trouble and panic, many people advice, “Breathe!” When we breathe mindfully, it can have a positive effect on our body. It helps us pause, take account of the situation, and then think clearly. Mindful breathing is this connection we build with the breath that anchors us to the present moment.
What Is Mindful Breathing?
Mindful breathing is paying attention to the sensation of the breath coming in and out of the body. It starts with noticing the breath, how and where it feels in the body without judgment or change. Mindful breathing is a deep breathing technique where you use big breaths while controlling the length. This helps achieve the desired outcome like falling asleep or relaxing the body during meditation or times of panic. Because our minds are usually running off, worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, mindful breathing can be a great technique to ground ourselves whenever life throws a curveball towards us.
The Benefits of Mindful Breathing
Setting aside a few minutes to practice mindful breathing can bring a big difference to your day. It is an important way to establish a routine and become comfortable with your body and mind. Mindful breathing can cultivate a greater sense of self-awareness, calm, peace, resilience, and happiness. Some more benefits include:
- Pain relief
- Stress reduction
- Anxiety reduction
- Less negative thinking and negative self-talk
- Increased compassion and more positive emotions
- Improved cognitive functions like memory, attention, and focus
- Improved sleep
- Improved brain health
- Emotional regulation
A Guide To Breathe Mindfully
- Get comfortable: Find a comfortable position, seated or lying down, and relax your body. It shouldn’t feel strained, and your breathing shouldn’t be constricted.
- Use a guide: Take the help of guided meditation to relax your body and connect with your breath.
- Start to notice your breath: Start by breathing in and out and taking note of your breath, how each inhale and exhale feels. Is it deep or shallow? Are you pausing before the next breath?
- Notice your body: Pay attention to the physical sensations coursing through your body. Where do you feel your breath? How does it feel to breathe in through your nostril?
- Refrain from judging: Our minds wander and it’s very natural for them to do so. Reserve judgment while practicing mindful breathing and acknowledge that your mind has wandered. Simply bring it back to your breath and sensations.
- Assess: Once the practice is done, notice how you and your body feels. Does your body feel different? Do you feel more relaxed?
The key is to stay mindful of your breath by staying curious and aware. You won’t achieve focus by trying to perfect breathing. It’s a natural process that needs to unfold organically. Just a few moments a day can make a significant difference to your day and your life.