The Key To Breathing Greater Vitality Into Your Life
Here is a powerful technique that you can start to apply right away to improve your vitality, wellness, and success.
The word Inspire means to motivate, energize, and also to breathe. Our breathing and our state of motivation have a synergistic relationship. When we are breathing well and oxygen is flowing freely throughout our entire body, we can feel more energized and motivated.
In spite of our awareness that breathing well feels good, is healthy and helps us to be more productive, modern people are chronically poor breathers. Most of us have a habit of breathing more shallowly and rapidly than is beneficial. It is a habituated pattern that we don’t often question, or consider changing.
These breathing patterns are often as a result of the body’s response to stress. You may know that this is the fight, flight, or freeze response to perceived threats in our environment. On a physiological basis the body is preparing to do what it needs to in order to stay alive. We produce adrenaline and other chemicals and we begin to breathe more rapidly and shallowly, to be prepared to react quickly. This type of response is normal, healthy and beneficial, but not when it is happening many times on a daily basis or constantly for some people. In an emergency this state of hyper-arousal is useful, yet when it becomes habitual it can have a negative effect. On the level of our nervous system this is a state of dysregulation vs. a state of regulation.
Most of us know that breathing better would be beneficial, but we have yet to change, or we just don’t know how. To make this positive change we need more than just awareness. We also need motivation and an effective way to create this new habit. In a moment you will learn a technique to consciously regulate your nervous system to a state of greater calm by practicing mindfulness of your breathing. When practicing this technique your body will feel better and it will feel more alive. This felt-sense of aliveness occurs as more oxygen, which is synonymous with life, gets delivered to each of your forty trillion plus cells! This sense of wellbeing will provide added motivation; as your body likes to feel good!
Mindfulness means paying attention to your experience. In this case you will be paying more attention to how you are breathing. The goal is to retrain your system to breathe naturally.
The following technique can be easily remembered with the acronym B-R-S which stands for Breath, Relax, and Sense. Here are the three steps:
Breathe – Inhale slowly in a full and natural way through the nose, relaxing the muscles in the torso area so that the ribs can expand like an accordion. This feels more like being breathed, than forcing the breath. Raise your shoulders towards your ears slightly on the inhale.
Relax – Exhale while lowering your raised shoulders. Allow the exhale to be a letting-go breath; as you release any tension in the shoulders and in the rest of the body.
Sense – Feel into the body, or place your awareness on the slight sense of heaviness as you released your shoulders. Keep some of your attention in the body as you begin the next inhale.
Repeat this cycle for approximately two minutes. If one cycle of an in and out breath takes you ten seconds, then you will have six cycles per minute, or twelve cycles in two minutes. Try this technique several times a day to begin building this healthy new habit.
Set the intention of using any stress inducing event as a trigger to practice mindfulness breathing. For example, the sound of a siren going by, or a car alarm going off could be used. This way you will be using those things that normally induce a stress reaction as triggers to practice this mindful, calm-inducing response. Soon you will be responding to red traffic lights with the same calm and sense of wellbeing that you now get from green lights.
Brad Maybury teaches mindfulness practices, helping clients connect more deeply with their body and gain greater calm, vitality, and wellness! Those with symptoms of anxiety, stress and trauma go from surviving to thriving.
Visit his site to learn more: http://www.traumarecoveryresources.com/newsletter