It’s 2017. Breathe.
A New Year. Time may feel like it is moving slower or faster, depending on who you speak to. The world may seem even more unpredictable than ever, where the only constant thing is change. But despite all of this change and uncertainty, you do have control of at least one thing. Your breath.
It is 2017, take a deep breath. Inhale through the nose and exhale out through the mouth with a little sigh. The average person breathes anywhere from 14 to 20 breaths per minutes, which is about three times faster than the five to six breaths per minute proven to help you feel your best, according to Patricia Gerbarg, MD at the New York Medical College.
So how and why should we try to mindfully tune into slowing our breath? Consciously breathing helps you focus on the present moment, which in turn lowers stress levels, changes your mood, improves your health and provides more intelligent, clearer thinking. You are increasing the blood flow through your arteries so that the blood becomes oxygenated. You are rejuvenating your organs with the oxygen-rich blood, the food for your cells. As you exhale, you are removing the Carbon Dioxide waste, which rebalances the pH levels of the blood. This slow breathing calls upon the parasympathetic response in the brain which induces feeling of relaxation, peace and mental clarity. Just to name a few benefits!
Here a few suggestions on how you can try to focus on breathing for this coming year, and experience the joys of oxygen and all it brings:
- MORNING: Start the day with a fresh mind. Inhale for the count of 10 and then exhale for the count of 10, just two times. Work your way up to the count of 20.
- THROUGHOUT THE DAY: Don’t be afraid to pause and inhale before responding to someone via spoken word, email or even in a meeting. You won’t look foolish. Show that you are thoughtful and allow yourself time to give a more oxygenated response!
- BREAK: Give yourself permission to get out of the office and take a five minute break to breath in some fresh air. Getting up from your desk and getting some fresh air will boost your energy levels and extend clearer, strategic thinking for the rest the day.
- EMERGENCY: When your emotions and thoughts start to build up, close the eyes and focus on a long deep inhale. There will generally always be stress at work, but you have the choice to not let it affect you.
- EVENING: To clear out the clutter from the day and help your work to home transition, take five deep breaths before entering the house. Allow yourself to mindfully switch modes.
- OTHERS BEDTIME: Watch how perfectly your child inhales and exhales with such ease.
- BEDTIME: Focus on long deep breathing before you go to sleep. Let the belly and chest rise on the inhale, and blissfully allow yourself deflate on the exhale.
Remember, despite all of this change and uncertainty, you do have control of at least one thing. Your breath. Give your body, mind and soul the “…best health capsule you can ever take – your own breath of life.” (Yogi Bhajan). Cheers to a glowing, prosperous, blissful improved you for 2017!