A Simple Mindful Breathing Exercise.

If you’ve done any stress reduction technique before—or even read about it—you know that breathing is central to relaxation, and that developing slow, deep and steady breathing can help you relax. The more relaxed your breath, the more relaxed you'll feel in your body and your mind.

Try this simple mindful breathing exercise.

Sit in a relaxed posture.

•Relax the muscles in your abdomen.
•Slow down the pace of your breath.
•Start to breathe from your abdomen—allow your breath to fill the abdomen so it becomes full and round.
•Place your right hand over your navel—you should be breathing so deeply from your belly that you can see your hand rise and fall.
•Keep your shoulders down. (Make sure they aren’t hunched up by your ears.)
•Inhale for a slow count of three, pause for a count of one, and then exhale for three.
•Continue at your own pace.

Most people especially under stress breathe in a very shallow manner. It takes some time to develop regular and slow breathing, so don’t worry if it doesn't feel natural yet. The more you practice, the more it will become so!

That’s all? Well, not quite.

Repeat these deep breaths, focusing on your breathing to the exclusion of everything else.

Not quite able to exclude everything else? Join the crowd. You will have intrusive thoughts about what’s going to happen today, or what happened earlier, or what happened in the third grade that today reminds you of … mind travel can go on and on. That’s okay. Just keep breathing and focusing on your breathing.

Keep bringing your attention back to your breathing, because what you are doing is training your prefrontal cortex, the site of conscious thought and control (aka Will Power), to become stronger in over-riding the lower brain areas, those areas where your impulse to take the easy way out – slump down in front of the TV instead of exercising, eat the entire bag of chocolate chip cookies and skip the vegetables – is dominant.

The more you do this breathing and focusing exercise, the more you develop that control. If you were to do this simple exercise for five minutes per day, at the end of five months a brain scan would show significant changes in the area of your brain from which self control originates.

Isn’t that worth the investment of five minutes per day? And hey, you don’t have to stop at five minutes. Try it for 10, 15 ….

I don’t think anyone has established an overdose level for mindful breathing :)

Mindfulness helps change happen by putting space in between us and our stress reactivity, helping to set us free and being in charge of our choices.

Mindful eating is not a diet.
It is no longer about punishment, deprivation or guilt
It is about reaching optimal weight, and developing healthy and joyful relationship with food. 

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