How to Do a 5-Minute Breathing Technique for Relaxation
Is stress part of your daily life – something you feel even on a good day? Stress is like an uninvited guest who came by once and never got the hint: it just sticks around and keeps coming back. It would be great if you could take a vacation from everything that causes you stress, but that won’t do you much good, will it? As soon as you come back, stress will be waiting for you. That’s why it’s much better to have simple coping strategies to relax and regroup whenever stress comes. This 5-minute breathing technique is magical.
Your Body When It’s Stressed
Stress isn’t just an emotional or psychological event. It impacts us physically. In fact, when we feel stressed, our sympathetic nervous system gets revved up, our cortisol levels increase, and we feel on edge and alert. That’s exactly what should happen when we’re under stress.
In an ideal world, we should only feel stress when we are truly in danger and when there’s a threat. However, most of the time we feel stressed about things that aren’t truly life-threatening.
And this leads to chronic stress – a real health problem. When we’re chronically stressed, our sympathetic nervous system is constantly switched on. This leads to high cortisol levels and increased inflammation in the body, it weakens the immune system and it can even increase blood pressure. In other words, chronic stress is just not good for us.
But you can calm your stress with your breath.
Breath Affects Stress
How you breathe can have a huge impact on your body. When you breathe deeply and slowly, you essentially send a message to your brain that says, “I am safe.” This helps you calm down and relax.
Because this sounds so simple, we easily overlook the gift of our breath. Here’s the thing: When you’re stressed at work, you can’t run out of the office and go to yoga class. You have to stay at work. But! You always have your breath.
If you think of something that triggers your stress, you can’t escape your mind, but you always have your breath. If you feel yourself getting heated and irritated during a conversation, you might not be able to end the conversation, but you always have your breath.
You see, your breath is always – let me repeat – always with you. And that means you always have a powerful way to cope with stress and create relaxation in your body and mind.
You don’t need aromatic candles. You don’t need to hide in a cave. You can tap into the power of your breath right here and right now to change your physical body as well as your emotional and psychological body.
How to Do a 5-Minute Breathing Technique
If you can, close the door to keep the distractions to a minimum. Set a timer on your phone for 5 minutes. Then, find a comfortable seating position and sit quietly. Close your eyes.
Now, turn your attention to your breath. Take slow and long breaths. Imagine that every inhale carries with it gentle, calming energy. Imagine that every exhale carries out your stress and negative thoughts. Imagine that every inhale surrounds your body in soft, soothing colors. Imagine that every exhale drains away the darkness.
Listen to your breath as you inhale and exhale. It’s like the ebb and flow of the tide. It’s the lullaby your body can relax to.
As you begin to create your own style of rhythmic breathing movement, begin to say in your mind, “I am love. I am present. I am kind. I am love. I am present. I am kind.” Go ahead, keep going. Repeat these words quietly to yourself for five minutes.
You can do this breath technique once a day, but you can also do it more than that – as often as you need to.
It is mind-blowing that something as simple as this can make such a huge impact on your life, but try it. You’ll see what I mean.