Just Breathe - Mindful Breathing

Day 10: The 4:7:8 (Breathing)

“Observe the space between your thoughts, then observe the observer.” ~Hamilton Boudreaux

When my Montsi gets upset for whatever reason, especially when she feels scared at bedtime, I tell her to breathe. Her response more often than not is "I’m different, it doesn’t work for me”. Her response totally rings a bell with me. Working with our physiological response to stressors can be extremely difficult when we are unskillful to our natural responses. When we experience the peak of being upset, it’s so hard to shift from automatic to mindful. I find myself feeling just like her when I’m the one being upset.

We become our most powerful self when we actively choose to breathe and create space for the moment to pass. If we’re breathing already, why are you telling me to breathe? Why breathe? 

Mindful breathing is a totally different form of breathing.  When we focus on our breathing, it forces our stressors or anxiety to take a back seat and It can help to get our thoughts back on track and ultimately feel better.  While some people use mindful breathing only when they are stressed, others find it to be a great way to relax and practice it on a regular basis.

So, when I wake up in the middle of the night, and feel scared about my thoughts, just like my daughter, I work a breath strategy that helps me find peace within and most importantly, my sleep.

Here are some reasons why you might want to try mindful breathing:

  1. It makes way for clear thinking and increases creativity. 

  2. Thinking about your breathing helps to release tension.  When your tension is reduced, you energy levels automatically increase.

  3. It helps your body detoxify – your immune and digestive systems will thank you.

  4. Working on your breathing helps to reduce anxiety.  With fewer anxious thoughts, you might even be able to study and sleep better.

  5. It can help improve relationships.  It allows you to think before you speak, and we could all benefit from that.  

So how do you do it?  Here is one strategy and if you have one that works for you, please comment below!

MINDFUL BREATHING

Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth.

  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.

  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.

  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.

  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.

  • This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Note that with this breathing technique, you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. This breathing exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.