Breathing techniques are a way to stop your thoughts and the things you’re doing. They help you get back to the present moment.
What is a breathing technique?
You know all the times you spiral down the rabbit hole of worries? Well, that’s a great moment for you to look for any of the triggers and start applying some of these techniques. We’ll cover more about the triggers later on.
The techniques themselves are simple. The only thing you have to do is breathe and be aware of it. There are various ways of applying this throughout your day. You will find a free worksheet to help you with that, at the bottom of the page.
What are the benefits of breathing techniques?
You might be wondering why would want to do this. Here are some of the benefits of deep breathing:
1. Clear mind
Your mind cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. Imagine you feel overwhelmed and your mind is all over the place. By practicing any breathing technique, you will only focus on breathing. It will act like a PAUSE button for all your thoughts.
2. Relaxed body
While practicing deep breathing, on the exhalation your muscles will relax.
This applies especially to the first technique – light like a feather. After practicing that, you’ll feel like you dropped down a 10-kilo backpack.
3. Slow down your heart rate
Studies have shown that meditation and deep breathing have the power to slow down your heart rate.
When you’re anxious and stressed, you feel an inner agitation and tense muscles. These symptoms show an increased heart rate. When you manage to calm down and relax, your heart rate will also go down.
More benefits about deep breathing here
The best thing about breathing techniques?
You can practice some of them anywhere, at any time of the day.
7 breathing techniques that will improve your mood in a minute
1. Light like a feather
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
- Imagine that with every inhalation your body becomes very light, like a feather, and that you start floating.
- Then start exhaling slowly and come back while relaxing your muscles.
2. Palms together
- Hold your palms together in prayer position.
- Inhale and start expanding the space between your palms, trying to make a sphere with your palms
- Imagine that this sphere holds your frustration, stressful thoughts, worries or anything else that’s on your mind right now.
- Exhale slowly and bring your palms back together. While doing this, “squeeze” out of your palms the frustration that bothers you.
3. Belly breathing
If it’s the first time trying this, the easiest is if you practice it laying down.
- Put your right palm on your belly and your left palm on your chest.
- Start inhaling in your belly and pay attention to your palms and how are they moving up and down with your breath.
- Practice this until you manage to breathe only in your belly.
You will achieve this when only the palm on your belly is moving up and down and the one on your chest remains still.
To set a slow pace for your breathing try counting while you inhale and exhale.
The steps to follow are simple:
- inhale while counting to 4
- hold your breath while counting to 3
- exhale slowly counting to 7
It might feel unnatural in the beginning but after practicing it for a few times you will get into the rhythm of it.
5. Follow the gif
You can find some other gifs here.
6. Ocean breath
Listen to the waves of the ocean
- Synchronize your breath to them, imagining how the water washes away your worries.
- Every time you exhale, the water is also cleaning the shore, taking with it anything that does not belong there.
- What remains behind is the untouched wet sand, the same as your clear mind.
It stays like that until new thoughts appear and they leave their footprints on it.
7. Joyful breathing
Another easy technique!
Every time you breathe in, add a smile on your face.
This will not only put you in the present moment but it will also induce a good mood.
You can start your day with a couple of smiling deep breaths and they will set you on the right foot for the day.
Include deep breathing in your day
First of all, you need to think about a regular day and write down things that you see or hear. Try to remember as many as you can and focus on the ones that you meet every day.
These triggers can be:
- the sun rays
- a cloud
- a red light at the traffic light
- a STOP sign
- a tree
- birds singing
- making your cup of tea/coffee
- a new email
- starting your car
- sitting down for lunch
- brushing your teeth
and many more.
After you have a list, try to see how you can associate one of the techniques above with it.
Here are some examples:
- Trigger: a notification on your phone
Breathe: take 3 deep smiling breaths before grabbing your phone to check it.
- Trigger: getting out of bed
Breathe: start counting your steps while practicing deep breathing on your way to the toilet.
- Trigger: you feel the wind blowing
Breathe: close your eyes for a second and take one deep breath
Are you curious about more mindfulness activities that you can practice throughout the day?
Read this: One-minute mindfulness – 9 simple activities for everyone