We breathe thousands of times a day every day of our lives.
We breathe automatically and our breath is not something we have to think about doing.
On the other hand, we also have the ability to control our breath. This is important as when we experience strong emotions, there is often a sympathetic physiological response.
What does that mean? When we are scared, our hearts start beating faster and we start to breathe shallowly. We start to release stress hormones and before you know it we are on the way to flight or fight mode!
Amazingly though, because you have the power to slow down your breathing, you can calm your body and override this domino effect.
So how do we do this?
Even when we read the word breath or breathe, we instantly become aware of our breath. In becoming aware of our breath, often we start to take deeper breaths. This slowing down of the breath brings with it an almost immediate calmness.
The next time you are close to a pen and paper, try writing ‘breathe’, either tracing over the word or writing lots of the word. Notice if this had an impact on you.
To develop a habit of this grounding, try writing ‘breathe’ on a post-it and putting it by your mirror in the morning.
Alternatively, you could pick a trigger such as opening your car door as something which makes you decided to take a deep breath. Grounding yourself before you dash into work in the morning traffic can be a total day changer!
Often we think we have lots to do before we feel better or live a better, healthier life but there is nothing you can do this very second that can have such a profound impact on your health and wellness than taking a nice deep breath.
MyMind’s resident blogger Maggie May O’Callaghan is a qualified yoga instructor and soon to be massage therapist. She is currently training as a psychotherapist in the University of Limerick. Maggie May is passionate about yoga, breath work, meditation and massage particularly as they relate to supporting positive mental health. Key to Maggie May’s approach is a focus on connection, not only with one’s body and mind but perhaps most importantly with the people around us. Maggie May said, “Finding ways to meet the needs of the community with what I do in a way that is engaging and fun is what truly inspires me.”